Belfast Telegraph

BBC still to decide if it will screen Northern Ireland football friendlies

By Stewart Robson

Northern Ireland fans could miss out on the action when the team face Panama and Costa Rica in two friendlies this week.

While some of the Green and White Army are travelling across the Atlantic to see their team, fans back home could be out of luck - as BBC Sport NI is still undecided about showing the matches live.

A letter has been sent to the broadcaster by Gary McAllister, Chairman of the Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters Clubs (AONISC), expressing his concern.

Anger has been fuelled as Wales' game against Mexico tonight and Scotland's clash with Peru tomorrow will both be broadcast on the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app.

However, the BBC said in a statement that it was still undecided about showing the Northern Ireland matches.

A spokesperson said: "We are still in discussions regarding the coverage of these games." They said the AONISC letter had been received and a response would be issued when possible.

It is understood that 'technical difficulties' regarding streaming the matches may prohibit them from being shown, according to Mr McAllister.

The chairman of Antrim Northern Ireland Supporters Club, Raymond Taylor, said he and a lot of other fans will feel badly let down as the other home nations will have the opportunity to watch their teams in action.

"I feel very disappointed that the games won't be shown on local TV considering the fact that ITV show all England's friendlies," said the lifelong fan.

"RTE are showing all of Ireland's friendlies, BBC Scotland are showing Scotland's upcoming friendlies, and Mexico against Wales is live on the BBC website too.

"I'm sure people can understand the anger felt by local Northern Ireland fans," Mr Taylor added.

Kick-off against Panama is at 2am BST on Wednesday and against Costa Rica at 7pm BST on Sunday.

Belfast Telegraph

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