Football TV Blackout Rule

The UK's football TV blackout rule prevents live football matches from being televised between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on Saturday afternoons. The blackout rule was introduced during the 1960s when Football League chairmen believed televised matches had a negative impact on attendances at matches being played at the same time.

The rule has caused controversy in recent years as live coverage of El Clasico, arguably the biggest match in world football, has been heavily disrupted.

Supporters of the rule believe removing the blackout would "threaten the sanctity" of the traditional Saturday 3pm kick-off. Recent findings from the European Court of Justice suggest that the blackout period has little or no impact on attendances and, in fact, may restrict the European Commissions desire for cross-border access to audio-visual content.

Eleven Sports briefly challenged the rule by broadcasting Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao at 3.15pm on Saturday 29th September 2018. However, they backed down after receiving pressure from their broadcasting partners.