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Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014

Sports

Fans upset as Euro qualifiers are off TV

The New Paper | Wednesday, Sep 10, 2014

German national football team player Thomas Mueller (R) attends a training in Kamen, ahead of a Euro qualifier against Scotland

Football fans in Singapore hoping to catch the first round of the 2016 European Championship qualifiers "live" on TV this morning would have been left disappointed.

None of the games were carried by cable providers SingTel mio TV or StarHub TV.

Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Jason Lai, a 36-year-old trader and Germany fan, said: "After they lost to Argentina 4-2 in a replay of the World Cup final, I was keen to watch the world champions take on Scotland and see if they would be back to their best.

"But I couldn't find any Euro qualifiers on the listings of either SingTel mio TV or StarHub TV.

LETDOWN

"I remember being able to watch previous Euro and World Cup qualifiers on either service provider, so it's a real letdown for subscribers like me, who are football fans, to find out that there will not be any live telecast."

The 2016 European Championship qualifiers kicked off this morning (Singapore time).

Switzerland take on England while Spain host Macedonia early tomorrow morning, while the Czechs face the Dutch and Norway play Italy early Wednesday morning.

The next round of qualifiers are from Oct 9-14.

Both SingTel and StarHub confirmed with The New Paper that they will not be broadcasting the Euro qualifiers for now.

A SingTel spokesman said: "There are no confirmed plans to show the matches at the moment, and we are still in discussion with the rights owners."

StarHub's spokeman said: "StarHub is still exploring the option of acquiring the broadcast rights."

Michael Chee, a 31-year-old graphic designer and England fan, said: "With no English Premier League action this week, I believe football fans were looking forward to the Euro qualifiers.

"Hardcore fans would watch even meaningless friendlies. It's understandable that the service providers don't broadcast those games. "But these are Euro qualifiers we are talking about and a lot is at stake.

"I don't understand why neither SingTel nor StarHub will be broadcasting these matches, although in this digital age, it is also not difficult to find a live streaming site that does."

Some fans, like Luqman Muhd, a 23-year-old student and Holland fan, are still holding out hope they get to watch the matches on TV at home.

He said: "I don't like the hassle of trying to find a live stream online that works. It's not all that reliable and sometimes it lags. "I still prefer watching it on TV and I hope the matter can be resolved soon."

Euro 2016 will be held in France and will be contested by 24 teams for the first time, expanding from the 16-team format used since 1996.

Fifty-three teams will participate in the qualifiers, including debutants Gibraltar.

davidlee@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Sep 8, 2014.
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