Football fans in the UK won't be able to watch Real Madrid vs Barcelona this weekend due to a long-standing British law.
El Clasico is one of the most iconic fixtures on the planet and given the way Jude Bellingham has been ripping it up in La Liga this season, English interest in the game is sky-high with supporters keen to catch a glimpse of the midfield maestro in action.
But the clash won't be shown on telly because kick-off is at 3.15pm on Saturday, smack-bang in the middle of the UK's football blackout period. In place since the 1960s, the law states that no football matches are allowed to broadcast live between 2.45pm and 5.30pm.
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It was implemented due to concerns televised matches would have a negative impact on stadium attendances across the country, particularly at lower league games. It was theorised that if, say, Manchester United vs Liverpool was on the box, fans of lower league and non-league sides would stay at home to watch it rather than buying a ticket to watch their own team in action.
Back then, non-domestic league matches weren't televised in the UK. But once broadcasters started picking them up in the 1990s they were forced to adhere to the same rule.
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La Liga’s UK and Ireland MD, Keegan Pierce, has called for a change to the rule, insisting it should only apply to UK-based matches. "We’re disappointed that British fans cannot watch El Clasico this weekend due to the UK’s self-imposed Saturday 3pm rule," he said.
"While we fully support measures to promote attendance, we believe the blackout should be limited to the televising of domestic football, not overseas competitions."
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It comes amid the incredible start Bellingham has made to his Bernabeu career. The midfielder, who signed for Madrid for £100million over the summer, has netted 11 goals in 12 matches so far, instantly endearing himself to the famously-hard-to-please Madridistas.
The one criticism the 20-year-old has faced, however, is he's yet to produce the goods against a genuinely top team, but he'll get his chance this weekend. Madrid are currently top of La Liga after winning eight of their first 10 matches while Barcelona, who unlike Madrid are still undefeated, are just a point behind them in third.
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