Thursday 23 January 2020

Football League show presenter 'frustrated' at show not being broadcast

Robert Dex

The presenter of the BBC's Football League show said he shared fans' "frustration" after it was not broadcast on St Stephen's Day amid fears it may be dropped.

Host Manish Bhasin took to Twitter after the show, which rounds up the action in Leagues One and Two and the Championship, was not shown as usual after Match Of The Day and told fans it was "a budget decision".

The BBC refuses to discuss contractual issues but its three-year contract with the Football League runs out at the end of this season and there has been speculation that it will not be renewed as the corporation embarks on a scheme of cost-cutting aimed at reducing sports rights spending by 15%.

Bhasin told fans on Twitter: "I feel your frustration believe me.."

He added: "Not sure where these rumours have come from but the FLS has NOT been scrapped! It's on till May and who knows maybe even longer... but.."

Fans bombarded Bhasin on the micro-blogging site, with one, Nick Bruzon, calling the decision "a missed opportunity over Xmas period" saying it was "Frustrating for players and fans alike".

Another fan, Ian Hemmens, wrote: "More people watch FL than Prem league, where's the justification in the decision, Manish?"

The next edition of the show is not until January 14, with a special Carling Cup edition four days earlier.

The corporation's contract with the Football League does not cover every game and a decision was made to broadcast an extra show at Easter, when relegation and promotion deciders are likely to be played, instead of covering games over the festive period.

A BBC spokeswoman said the St Stephen's Day and January 2 fixtures were not part of its deal and it was unable to schedule a show to cover New Year's Eve but all the goals from all the games would be on the BBC Sport website.

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