BBC in discussions with FA

Published: Monday 16th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The BBC is in discussions with the Football Association about how to make it easier to choose the most exciting FA Cup fixtures to broadcast live.

The broadcaster received criticism for not showing Bradford’s shock 2-0 victory over Sunderland in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday, electing instead to show Aston Villa’s match against Leicester.

In a 770-word statement, BBC football editor Mark Cole wrote: ” As the game unfolded yesterday at Valley Parade, we shared the frustration of fans and would have loved to have been broadcasting the match live.

“It’s everything the FA Cup and our new comprehensive coverage is about. We are speaking to the FA about whether we can change this in the future, but understand it’s tricky for them.

“Clubs understandably want to get plans for ticketing, policing and fans in place without waiting for 10 days for TV companies to confirm their selections.

“But we hope there’s a middle ground where we can get a little more flexibility to ensure we have as much chance as possible of capturing cup classics like yesterday.”

The BBC and BT both had to make their fifth-round selections before the outcome of the fourth-round replays, which included Sunderland playing away at Championship side Fulham.

If the decision could be delayed until the fixtures were known for certain, the BBC insist it would have chosen Bradford’s tie against the Black Cats.

Cole wrote: “That’s the only reason why Phil Parkinson’s side didn’t get a live match this time round.

“We had to weigh up the options and given Sunderland’s recent form, thought it was a realistic possibility of the match being League One against a Championship side.

“In this case it wouldn’t have been much of a shock whatever the result and the winners would be guaranteed a live Quarter-Final, as Reading have done by progressing at Derby.

“If Bradford definitely had a home tie against Premier League opposition we certainly would have chosen to have the match live on BBC One.”

Published: Monday 16th February 2015 by The News Editor

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