Scottish Government
Printable version

Consultation on international football broadcasting

Case for Scotland national team qualifiers to be free-to-air.

An evaluation will take place as part of making the case to the UK Government that major Scotland men’s and women’s national football team qualifier matches should be available for free-to-air broadcast.

The Scottish Government’s view is that national sporting events, such as Scotland's men's and women's football qualifiers for the World Cup and European Championships, should be included in the list of matches protected for free-to-air broadcast to expand the opportunity for audiences to enjoy these games.

Scotland matches in major men’s and women’s tournaments are on the protected list, but qualifiers are not, and this consultation will examine the case to close that loophole. UEFA holds the rights to these matches and they are often sold to the highest bidder – regardless of whether that results in them being shown behind a paywall.

Any consultation would form part of broader analysis of the case for the expansion of the list of free-to-air games, alongside a consideration of the business case. The Scottish Government plans to publish further details on the consultation this summer.

First Minister Humza Yousaf said:

“The Scottish Government is taking a further step towards making major Scotland international football matches available free-to-air, which would allow the whole country to get behind our national teams in important qualifying fixtures.

“Scots celebrated as our men’s national team charged their way on scintillating form into this year’s Euro Championships, and we’ll all be behind the women’s national team when their qualifiers get underway next month, but most Scots are blocked from watching the national team with the bulk of games shown on a pay-per-view basis.  

"With so much at stake in qualifiers, our vision is for all fans to be able to watch their national teams as they battle to reach the world’s biggest competitions.

“With the full powers of independence, the Scottish Government would have the power to determine the list of events that should be available to broadcast free-to-air to reflect the interests of Scottish audiences, and enable broadcasters who have a public service remit to better meet these needs.

“But broadcasting policy is currently reserved to the UK Government, and only Westminster can add these matches being included in the so-called “crown jewels” of international sporting fixtures for free-to-air broadcast.

“With the UK Government refusing to act to resolve the situation for Scotland fans, the Scottish Government will launch a consultation on the issue to help progress the campaign to ensure Scotland international qualifying matches are on terrestrial TV.

“Further evaluation work will be taken forward to understand the implications such a decision would have for rights holders, including the SFA, before the Scottish Government’s case is brought forward to the UK Government.”


Broadcasting policy is reserved to the UK Government. An evaluation of the balance between the ability of Scottish rights holders, such as the SFA, to generate income to reinvest in Scottish sports, and access for Scottish audiences to sporting events is seen as a further step towards making the case to the UK Government to consider protecting qualifiers.

Current sports classified as full live coverage protected and secondary coverage protected, which could mean highlights are free-to-air rather than live broadcast. Inclusion in the list of protected events does not mean the event has to be shown on television, because sports rights holders are not obliged to offer events and broadcasters are not obliged to bid for them.

Group A (Full Live Coverage Protected)

  • The Olympic Games
  • The Paralympic Games
  • The FIFA World Cup Finals Tournament
  • The FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals Tournament
  • The European Football Championship Finals Tournament
  • The European Women’s Football Championship Finals Tournament
  • The FA Cup Final
  • The Scottish FA Cup Final (in Scotland)
  • The Grand National
  • The Wimbledon Tennis Finals
  • The Rugby World Cup Final
  • The Derby
  • The Rugby League Challenge Cup Final

Group B (Secondary Coverage Protected)

  • Cricket Test Matches played in England
  • Non-Finals play in the Wimbledon Tournament
  • All Other Matches in the Rugby World Cup Finals Tournament
  • Six Nations Rugby Tournament Matches Involving Home Countries
  • The Commonwealth Games
  • The World Athletics Championship
  • The Cricket World Cup - the Final, Semi-finals and Matches Involving Home Nations’ Teams
  • The Ryder Cup
  • The Open Golf Championship
Channel website:

Original article link:

Share this article

Latest News from
Scottish Government