The National League board has said it is aiming to have a service set up to live stream matches by the end of this season.

In a statement issued at 10.30pm on Friday night, the board said it was looking to set up a service to televised “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.

Yeovil Town chairman Scott Priestnall is a member of the National League board.

In its statement, the National League said: “After several months of considering the options and appropriate due diligence the Board were presented with a detailed report which, having received proposals from a number of potential partners including market leaders and which also included speaking with organisations who have successful experience in streaming, a series of recommendations were made.

The Board unanimously approved all recommendations and have tasked the Commercial Committee to immediately progress this work, finalise contractual arrangements and confirm timelines. The ambition is to have a fully functioning platform launch in the second half of the season.

The statement follows – though we’re sure are totally unconnected to – a public spat at the end of last month with Wrexham owner Ryan Reynolds to the 20.2 million who follow him on Twitter about the predicament.

He said the league not allowing streaming was “truly baffling” adding: “It deprives every team in our league of the chance to expand the fanbase, while adding to league revenue benefits everyone.”

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.

In its most recent statement, the league added BT Sport had been “incredibly supportive of the plan” and that, with full board approval in place it would “now be progressing matters to contractually cement that position“.

The statement finishes: “We are excited to move this forward promptly and will give regular updates as to the progress of the project.”

Watch this space for a streaming service coming to a television/laptop/tablet/mobile phone near you…….at some point, probably later this season although it is the National League, so who knows?!

 

What is Article 48?

If we’re getting specific, we’re talking about ‘Article 3 – Transmission Rights’ of Article 48 of the UEFA Statutes, which says:

Each member association may decide on two and a half hours on a Saturday or a Sunday during which any Transmission of football may be prohibited within the territory of the relevant member association. This prohibition shall apply only to intentional Transmissions. The two and a half hours period (or periods) must be decided on by the member association fourteen days, at the latest, before the beginning of its domestic season, at which time they will enter into force and apply for the whole season.

In summary, the rules of UEFA, which governs European football, says that any football association can pick a two-and-a-half hour window when games can’t be televised in. In England, that is between 2.45pm-5.15pm on a Saturday.

The so-called ‘black-out rule’ was introduced during the 1960s when Football League chairmen believed televised matches had a negative impact on attendances at matches being played at the same time.

Some of them might still do – anyone seen our chairman?


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