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BBC has taken its eye off ball when it comes to the Irish League and IFA must demand better coverage

letter of the day: televisual shambles

Published 19/08/2016

I am writing to express my dismay that the IFA have, once again, allowed BBC NI to treat local football with complete contempt.

Last week, BBC NI announced it was continuing it's "first-class coverage of the Irish League". Yet the deal seems to be just a continuation of the pitiful coverage as before.

It announced live commentary of a game "every Saturday" on Radio Ulster. The following Saturday, the whole afternoon was dedicated to live commentary of the Ulster Rally. And we know in February, once the Six Nations starts, the Irish League will take a back seat, as it will when Ulster have a big game on a Saturday afternoon.

Then it proudly announced continuation of the "popular" Irish League Show on a Monday night. So popular that only people who have internet access can watch it. Imagine how many more viewers it would get if they aired it on BBC1 or BBC2?

It's 2016 and BBC NI still can't find room in the schedule for an Irish League highlights package? Meanwhile, GAA get regular live games, highlights shows and documentaries dedicated to individual clubs.

They also managed to find time, during the hectic Olympic week, to air a highlights show for the Ulster Rally. Live radio commentary was not enough for that event.

I blame both BBC NI and the IFA for this shambles. Even the Football Association of Wales get a deal that sees not only a highlights show for the League of Wales (a league no better than the Irish League), but S4C also airs a live game every Saturday at around teatime.

RTE have a highlights show for the League of Ireland on a Monday night and BBC Scotland does the same for the Scottish Premiership on a Sunday evening.

When is the IFA going to demand the same for the Irish League? When are BBC NI going to offer it?

If BBC NI thinks showing the goals from the games involving mainly the Belfast teams at teatime on a Saturday is "first-class coverage", clearly their definition of the term "first-class" is a lot different to mine.

FED-UP LOCAL FOOTBALL FAN

Lurgan, Co Armagh

Belfast Telegraph

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