England qualifier not on TV

LONDON - England fans will only be able to watch Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine live on the Internet or in a cinema after the match failed to attract a television company, rights holder Kentaro said yesterday.

LONDON - England fans will only be able to watch Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine live on the Internet or in a cinema after the match failed to attract a television company, rights holder Kentaro said yesterday.

Setanta had signed a deal with Kentaro to broadcast the Group Six match live but the TV company went into administration in June, leaving the match without a broadcaster.

All previously broadcast England matches have been available on television.

Fans who subscribe in advance will be charged £5 (R61) to watch the match in Dnipropetrovsk that Ukraine need to win to maintain their hopes of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. England have clinched their place in South Africa.

"Over 20million people in the United Kingdom regularly use the Internet to watch sport," said Philipp Grothe, the chief executive of Kentaro Group.

"The mainstream adoption of broadband and the growing popularity of online viewing is now a realistic alternative to old-fashioned TV broadcasting."

He said Kentaro had also struck a deal to show the match across Britain in cinemas.

England fans' groups have criticised the decision to show the match exclusively on the Internet but the Football Association said yesterday it had no authority over the match, with the rights being sold by the Ukraine FA and its commercial agents. - Reuters

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