BBC Scotland unimpressed with their recent decision regarding the broadcast of this week’s UEFA Cup matches.
As some will know, Rangers take on Panathinaikos in Greece on Thursday and Bayern Munich play Aberdeen at the Allianz Arena in Germany that same day. But unfortunately for non-travelling fans, both matches are contested at roughly the same time. Which means that the BBC can only broadcast one – out of interests of “fairness” to viewers.
They’ve gone for the Rangers match. Which means that any Aberdeen fans unable to make the journey to Germany won’t be able to watch the second leg of the tie, where they still have a chance of making it to the last 16.
Both games are delicately balanced, it’s 0-0 in the Rangers game and 2-2 in the Aberdeen match. Given that neither Greece nor Germany are easy places to travel, I wouldn’t say either tie has a clear winner just yet.
It seems clear that the BBC assumed that Bayern would finish off the tie in the first leg at Pittodrie and therefore, there would be no need to show the second leg. That hasn’t happened and now I’d argue the Bayern vs. Aberdeen game will be far more entertaining than the Panathinaikos vs. Rangers match.
Of course, there are more Rangers fans in Scotland than there are Aberdeen fans. But frankly, even if I weren’t an Aberdeen fan I’d rather watch Bayern Munich, with players like Franck Ribery, Miroslav Klose and Luca Toni, than either Panathinaikos or Rangers. And any neutral would probably say the same.
Aberdeen South MP Anne Begg has gone as far as to write to BBC Scotland controller Ken MacQUarrie to try and have the decision changed, and have the BBC either show the Dons match instead, or to show both.
So far this season, BBC Scotland have broadcast seven of Aberdeen’s European matches, but only four of Rangers’. This is of course, because Rangers qualified for the Champions’ League, which is broadcast between Sky and ITV. Now that they’ve dropped down into the UEFA Cup, BBC Scotland have rights to their matches again – and clearly they’re displaying their preference for Rangers matches.
The general opinion amongst Aberdeen fans is that the 2-2 draw last week with the Germans was their greatest result in recent times. They travel abroad with high hopes, despite a 3-1 defeat to Hibernian on Sunday. They could pull off the result of the decade, or at least, of their decade, if they can win against Bayern.
What’s so special about Panathinaikos versus Rangers that makes it more desirable? Rangers clearly consider the UEFA Cup as a ‘consolation prize’, having been unable to make it into the last 16 of the Champions’ League. Why not let the fans who genuinely care about the competition and their side’s progress have their day?
Aberdeen are often mentioned as a footnote in Scotland’s ‘revival’. The national side’s narrow failure to qualify for Euro 2008, Celtic making the last 16 of the Champions’ League and Rangers almost making it. Aberdeen’s progress in the UEFA Cup, remarkable considering they don’t have the money, resources or the fanbase that either of the Old Firm do, should be more of a big deal.
But the BBC have gone for the viewers rather than the entertainment. What a boob.