Belfast Telegraph

Beeb defends GAA coverage after Sinn Fein-led protest

By Staff Reporter

The BBC last night defended its position on GAA coverage after a Sinn Fein protest.

The party delivered letters to the broadcaster in Belfast and the RTE in Dublin calling for them to provide extra coverage of championship games and to end "geo-blocking" - that is when coverage in Northern Ireland is blanked out.

Sinn Fein MLA Sinead Ennis said a recent cut in coverage by the BBC of the Ulster Championship from seven live games to two had caused "huge anger among GAA members and fans".

She added: "I have met with the BBC head of sports programming to voice our disappointment and how they as a broadcaster for everyone could and should do more to ensure that the 250,000 Gaels in the north are not unfairly disadvantaged."

However, the BBC said that while it wanted to show all the games, it can't because of rights restrictions and arrangements made between the GAA with Sky and RTE.

It also said it is working to try and get enhanced levels of coverage for this summer and beyond, but did provide extensive coverage of the games on radio and online.

A spokeswoman added that this year two live games were shown on BBC Two and another two on the BBC iPlayer.

She said that fans were also able to watch the other four games in the Ulster Championship deferred on BBC Two.

Belfast Telegraph

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