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RTé signal block angers local fans

By Staff Reporter

Furious Irish soccer fans have been contacting the Andersonstown News claiming that they’re missing out on the Euro 2012 experience by not being able to watch the tournament on RTé Fans who have Sky or Virgin Media are having their RTÉ signal blocked on cable during the competition and as a result are forced to watch the matches on either BBC or ITV.

For most Irish fans, the outspoken RTé team of presenter Bill O’Herlihy and pundits Johnny Giles, Eamon Dunphy and Liam Brady are a must for big games, providing a welcome break from the relatively bland British  coverage. This week, however, angry fans have been telephoning the Andersonstown News complaining that they can  only watch British TV coverage of Euro 2012.

One caller told the Andersonstown News: “I  couldn’t believe it when I switched on for the opening game and realised I had to listen to the so-called expert opinion of Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Alan Hansen. There is no analysis with these guys – they’re all pals with the players and they never call it like it is.”

Criticised

“ITV is even worse,” he continued. “Adrian Chiles thinks he has to make a joke about everything. At least at RTé they call it as it is. They don’t have any friends in football to protect, even the Irish team gets heavily criticised if they deserve it.”

Another caller said he can’t get RTé on terrestrial and relies on Virgin Media for his signal.

“If I’d known this was going to happen I would have just got an RTÉ aerial. All you get on BBC is that tired old Match of the Day team. There’s more confrontation on RTé between the panellists. When I realised I had to watch the Ireland-Croatia match on ITV on Sunday I knew Ireland were going to get beaten. I feel like I’m missing out on the real Euro 2012 experience.”

A spokesperson for Sky told us: “In this instance we are simply the platform operator – as opposed to broadcaster – so it not our position to comment”. They advised us to contact RTé.

Over at Virgin Media a spokesperson informed us that the black-out was to do with “licensing issues”. a spokesperson for  RTÉ said: “Unfortunately RTE’s television broadcast rights to Euro 2012 do not include Northern Ireland rights so RTé’s television coverage of the Euro 2012 tournament on RTÉ Two and RTÉ Two HD will be blacked out for any viewers outside of the Republic of Ireland.”

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