The National League has confirmed it will begin certain National League matches from next weekend.
In a statement on Friday night, the league said its “soft launch” would only cover the league’s top tier with a pilot scheme running for the regionalised National League South and North.
It has previously said the service would screen “non-televised matches” whilst “also respecting the need to comply with Article 48 restrictions.”
Article 48 is a UEFA regulation which prevents matches being televised in England and Scotland between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on a Saturday, which presumably means the new streaming service will only cover midweek, bank holiday fixtures and any rescheduled kick-off times.
However, Article 48.2 (are you still awake?) states that there is no blackout between November 12 and January 14 – presumably to enable matches to be streamed during the World Cup – and therefore next weekend’s visit from Scunthorpe United could be the first match of interest to Glovers’ fans.
[With thanks to Paul Swaine (aka RoboChap) on Twitter for pointing out Article 48.2 – geeky, but correct! – Ed]
Given it’s the National League and given the caveats in its statement, we’ll wait for confirmation on exactly which matches are available – and how and when.
In its latest statement, the League said: “A huge amount of work has been ongoing behind-the-scenes with the League now in a position to announce a soft launch of the streaming platform on Saturday 10 December with a full launch two weeks later.
“The first phase of the launch will see streaming introduced for National Division clubs only while the League works with North and South clubs running pilot events in the second half of the season to ensure logistically it can be delivered for North and South Divisions for the 2023/24 season.
“The National League would again like to reiterate its commitment to providing a quality streaming platform that benefits all 72 Member Clubs.”
The National League board, which counts Yeovil Town chairman and owner Scott Priestnall among its number, says it has been speaking with BT Sport which broadcasts live matches and highlights, mostly 5.15pm kick-offs on Saturday but also around bank holidays and occasionally midweek.
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