Since before the inception of the Premier League, Saturday 3pm kick-offs have been forbidden to be televised in the UK, with broadcasters only able to show the early and late matches on national television.Though the 3pm kick-off is the slot in which the majority of weekend football matches are played with multiple games happening at the same time, they are never broadcast live on television due to the ‘football blackout’.But what is the football blackout, and why aren’t 3pm games allowed to be televised on UK television? Goal brings you everything you need to know as well as its history, reasoning and future. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! What is the football blackout? Which countries observe the football blackout? Has there been any effort to get rid of the football blackout?What is the football blackout?The football blackout follows the rule that no Premier League, Football League or FA Cup matches be broadcast on live television on Saturday between 2:45pm and 5:15pm. Games may be played on that day and on that time, but they are forbidden to be televised – with Saturday televised kick-offs mostly occurring at 12:30pm or 5:30pm.This follows a rule set in place since the 1960s when Burnley chairman Bob Lord successfully convinced fellow Football League chairmen that televised matches on Saturday afternoons would negatively impact the attendance of lower league games.He was convinced, for instance, that if Manchester United were to play Liverpool on Saturday at 3pm, fans of lower division teams would instead opt to watch the match on television instead of attend the match of the team they actually supported.As a result, the financial income of lower league football would be reduced.More than 40 years on, the rule is still in place. Foreign matches are also affected by the blackout – Sky Sports do not show the first 15 minutes of a La Liga match that kicks off at 5pm UK time.Until recently, the FA Cup final was an exception and had been broadcast at 3pm on a Saturday in May; however, in 2012, the FA Cup Final was moved to 5pm.To be in accordance with blackout rules, the final day of the Premier League has all ten games kick-off at the same time on Sunday at 3pm with the final round of Football League fixtures scheduled from 3pm onwards on a Saturday in order to broadcast multiple games.During the blackout period, live radio broadcasts are permitted both nationally and locally.It is also illegal for public houses such as pubs and bars to broadcast 3pm games via a live stream.Which countries observe the football blackout?The UK is the only country to prohibit the broadcast of 3pm Saturday kick-offs.The country has even made a tradition of the 3pm blackout, with Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday – a show where a panel of pundits narrate in-game action excitedly to viewers with none of the match footage actually being showed – ever popular while the blackout could be one of the reasons as to why ratings for Match of the Day remain ever-popular.Major European leagues in France, Spain, Germany and Italy do not observe such a blackout, and there has been sufficient evidence to prove that closed periods do not affect the outcome of lower league football match attendance.It is a major irony that you are able to watch more Premier League games based in North America or Asia rather than England, who have prided themselves as a nation who are the home of football.Has there been any effort to get rid of the football blackout?Naturally, UK-based football fans don’t always have the resources or financial ability to always attend the game on matchday, only able to follow their game on television – and not being able to watch your team at 3pm can be frustrating.There has been research about the impact of televised football on matchday attendees, with the consensus being that there is little to no correlation (if you are a local supporter, you would attend your home game regardless of who played at 3pm on television).In February 2011, Advocate General Kokott of the European Court of Justice launched an investigation into the “closed periods” and concluded that they did not affect match attendance at lower league games.”It is, in fact, doubtful whether closed periods are capable of encouraging attendance at matches and participation in matches,” she said in a statement.”Both activities have a completely different quality to the following of a live transmission on television. It has not been adequately shown to the Court that the closed periods actually encourage attendance at and participation in matches.”No closed periods were adopted in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, or in Northern Ireland, that is to say, within the sphere of influence of English football.”In 2016, Ofcom launched an investigation into the rights of televised football and surveyed football fans about whether they wanted to see a change.Their findings concluded that football fans were keen to see a balance struck between the number of games televised and the number of games that are to kick-off on Saturday at 3pm.In December of 2017, however, the Premier League announced plans to bring forward a new kick-off time on Saturday at 7:45pm starting from the 2019-20 season, with slots for eight games to be played at that time throughout the campaign. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
An emphatic win over Bangladesh in the final warm-up game has boosted India’s confidence but the former champions are yet to finalise plans for their World Cup campaign opener against South Africa, seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar said.After losing to New Zealand in the first warm-up, India thrashed Bangladesh by 95 runs in the second and final warm-up game ahead of the World Cup, beginning Thursday.”It was tough conditions for both batsmen and bowling, but we did well in both departments, so it will give a big boost to the team going into the world cup,” Bhuvneshwar said.”You always want to start with a win in the World Cup but right now I cannot say what we will be thinking or planning. We have almost a week. When we will practice and have meetings then we will decide what we need to do against them (South Africa) and their individual players.”Bhuvneshwar believes handling pressure will be the key during the World Cup and said his experience of playing in English conditions will hold him in good stead.”World cup is a big platform. Yes, the pressure will be there but I am excited and confident as I have toured here earlier. I know the England conditions,” he said.”In these two warm-ups (against New Zealand and Bangladesh) I acclimatised myself to know what to do in the tournament and what conditions will be.”Talking about the role of pacers in the World Cup, Bhuvneshwar said: “We all know England conditions help fast bowlers. Our (Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar) role will be crucial.advertisement”We three know as an individual what strength we have and what more we need to do which will help the team.”We three share our experience which helps. If it will swing it will give advantage to all. But we will see how conditions turn out to be. If it does, it will be an additional boost for bowlers,” he said.The 29-year-old fast bowler also has a lot of expectations from his batting and said he is working at the nets to sharpen his skills.”When it comes to batting, I have a lot of expectations from myself. I have played in some crucial matches which have boosted my confidence,” he said.”I know my ability in batting. I am preparing in the nets so that if the team needs me I can step in.”Talking about the warm-up game, Bhuvneshwar said: “I think it was really good performance, we got whatever we wanted from this practice match, whether it is batting, bowling or fielding.”The first aim was to not allow the opposition to chase the target. As an individual, I knew how much help I will get from the wicket, what I need to do to keep it tight. So similarly everyone tried to do what they wanted as an individual during the match.”It is likely to be a high-scoring World Cup with teams amassing over 350 almost regularly.India posted 359 for 7 against Bangladesh Tuesday and Bhuvneshwar said a big total on board gives the bowlers the freedom to try out new things.”Chasing 350-360 is not an easy task but nowadays teams can chase them if they bat well, so it gives an extra confidence when you go to bowl when it is 300 or 330 plus. These are extra liberties to try something new as a bowler,” he said.”In these kind of flat batting wickets, you want to keep it tight and let the batsmen make mistakes, that’s the general plan and I always try to do that thing.Also Read | MS Dhoni’s warm-up ton a good omen for India’s chances at World Cup 2019 Also Watch: