BBC in talks over Bradford cup debacle

Bradford fan Pete Leskovac celebrates the win. ('Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
Bradford fan Pete Leskovac celebrates the win. ('Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
0
Have your say

THE BBC is in discussions with the Football Association about how to make it easier to choose the most exciting FA Cup fixtures to broadcast live.

The broadcaster received criticism for not showing Bradford’s shock 2-0 victory over Sunderland in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday.

In a 770-word statement, BBC football editor Mark Cole wrote: “As the game unfolded yesterday at Valley Parade, we shared the frustration of fans and would have loved to have been broadcasting the match live.

“It’s everything the FA Cup and our new comprehensive coverage is about. We are speaking to the FA about whether we can change this in the future, but understand it’s tricky for them.”

The city’s MP including Philip Davies and George Galloway had derided the decision as scandalous.

The BBC and BT both had to make their fifth-round selections before the outcome of the fourth-round replays, which included Sunderland playing away at Championship side Fulham.

If the decision could be delayed until the fixtures were known for certain, the BBC insist it would have chosen Bradford’s tie against the Black Cats.

Cole wrote: “That’s the only reason why Phil Parkinson’s side didn’t get a live match this time round.

“We had to weigh up the options and given Sunderland’s recent form, thought it was a realistic possibility of the match being League One against a Championship side.

“In this case it wouldn’t have been much of a shock whatever the result and the winners would be guaranteed a live Quarter-Final, as Reading have done by progressing at Derby.

“If Bradford definitely had a home tie against Premier League opposition we certainly would have chosen to have the match live on BBC One.”

Bradford’s dramatic victory was shown first on Sunday night’s Match of the Day but not before presenters Gary Lineker and Mark Chapman had been singled out on twitter.

Bradford tweeted the duo via its official club account: “See you in the next round @GaryLineker @markchapman Don’t stand us up this time.... “

Chapman explained the decision on Match of the Day and Lineker had earlier tweeted: “The BBC can only show 2 ties in each round and select them pre replays. If they could’ve waited Bradford would obviously have been chosen.”

The draw for the FA Cup quarter-finals takes place on Monday night and all four ties will be screened live by the BBC or BT Sport.