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January 14, 2007

The Liverpool - Arsenal blackout in Salzburg

You hate your monopolies in the UK. I mean everyone was annoyed when Sky bought the rights to every single sport under the sun, so it was a relief for you when the BBC got back the rights to the biggest F.A. Cup matches and put them on at prime-time on the weekend.

But just think of us over in Johnny Foreigner land. We can go to pubs with dodgy satellite systems to pick up the best football from around the world including live Premiership matches - but BBC One on a Saturday evening? Forget it. That is why I have to get my Doctor Who via file-sharing, and why last Saturday evening I moped from pub to pub with no hope of getting to see the plum tie of the F.A. Cup's third round, Liverpool vs Arsenal. A four-goal thriller.

And then history repeated itself on Tuesday. I went to my favourite Austrian Irish pub to watch the Liverpool - Arsenal Carling Cup rematch - only to find that the Carling Cup is too trivial for Austrian sports TV, and that the sahdow of the Mönchsberg precludes Murphy's Law from hooking into Sky Sports. So I missed a nine-goal thriller in the re-match.

Still, revenge will be mine next year. As I predicted when I was moaning about the EU interfering with the sale of football TV rights, back in the UK you all have to buy a new set-top box to hook into BT Vision's broadband re-transmission of the live Premiership games that belong to Setanta's part of the TV deal. Whereas I will still get to see nearly every top Premiership game live on Austrian/Greek/dodgy imported UK/wherever-the-hell-we-end-up TV. Probably.

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