Scotland Games Free On TV

Background and FAQ’s

1. Who are the SFSA and why are they leading this campaign?

The Scottish Football Supporters Association (SFSA) is Scotland’s National Fans organisation. It is FREE to join and it has three type of members individuals, fan groups and Grassroots Clubs.

The organisation has been speaking out against having Scotland team games behind a pay wall since it was formed in 2015.

2. Can I join the SFSA?

Yes it is FREE TO JOIN just go to where you can see all the work we do.

3. Who else is involved in the campaign?

The campaign is backed by many Politicians, Fans Groups, and many ordinary fans. It is a support that we believe will grow across the country. Please do support the campaign and get as many people as possible to do likewise.

4. So why now?

There was some momentum with the work being done by Gavin Newlands MP and Gillian MacKay MSP on bring this to attention over the past year. In discussion with them and then with the various Tartan Army Groups and supporters it was decided that with the Euro Championship Qualifying cycle ended it would be a good time to start campaigning to ensure that we do not have the same problem with World Cup qualification when it starts.

It was also driven by the news that ViaPlay have indicated that they intend leaving this market. So we want to know what next for ordinary Scotland fans. Should we not have a say in this?

5. But it is all about UEFA is it not?

2011 – UEFA ask the then 53 UEFA members* if they’d like to sign up to a centralised rights management process with promises of increased revenues. (*Kosovo and Gibraltar have joined UEFA since then to make 55.)

  • 2012 – England become the last UEFA country to sign up to it and the deal takes effect for the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers.
  • 2012 – UEFA appoint CAA Eleven to manage the tendering an awarding of TV rights on their behalf.

CAA Eleven invite tenders for each TV market to registered broadcasters with the tender packs including restrictions for each TV area. For example where it’s legislated that a country’s games must be free to air in their own territory, broadcasters bidding for the rights for those TV areas must abide by that legislation.

A good example of this is Ireland, where Viaplay won the rights to the UK and Ireland market. Ireland’s games are protected to be FTA, so in Ireland, RTE show Ireland’s games and Viaplay show all the other UEFA games in Ireland.

CAA Eleven determine the winning bidder based on economics and quality as per standard procurement laws. This is then communicated with UEFA and the relevant association.

6. How many countries can watch TV on national Broadcasters channels?

Scotland is only 1 of 7 countries out of the 55 countries where the country can only watch through a pay wall. There is an irony that households in Scotland can watch every England game free-to-air (currently on Channel 4, but previously on STV).

England men’s qualifying matches have been free-to-air since 2001. Scotland men’s qualifying matches have been on pay-TV since 2002. It is signficsant that media regulator OFCOM noted the ‘increasingly fragmented landscape’ for viewers of football in Scotland in their Media Nations Scotland 2022 report. The idea that Scotland fans must pay to watch competitive matches has therefore been naturalised. We think that needs to change.

7. How many Scotland fans subscribe to Viaplay?

Viaplay do not publicly publish their viewing figures but in our fan survey fewer than 20% of Scotland fans subscribe to the service. Viaplay 1’s monthly reach for the whole of the UK is only 745,000, a monthly viewing share of just 0.03% of UK viewers (BARB, Sept 2023). This is probably one reason why they want to withdraw from the UK market.

8. How much does it cost to watch all Scottish football including the national teams?

Watching live football in Scotland is expensive. Currently, the cheapest option to watch Sky Sport and TNT Sport channels is £43 via NOW TV. Add an annual ViaPlay subscription of £99, that makes watching all Scottish-related football cost £53.25 per month. The cost of watching the national team at home is therefore beyond the reach of many households in Scotland. We think this is simply wrong.

9. Why are Wales games on S4C?

Viaplay won the rights for Wales games, but came to an agreement to sub-license those rights with S4C which is free-to-air with Welsh commentary.

10. Why couldn’t STV sub-let Viaplay’s rights?

STV appeared before a parliamentary select committee and were asked this question. The answer was they’d love to but didn’t think it would be affordable and it would have to fit around ITV’s network schedules. They made the point that if a subscription channel had spent vast sums building up the rights, they wouldn’t necessarily have an appetite to share them. However, ITV will be showing England qualifying games again from 2024 meaning they will also be screened on STV. This doesn’t seem right.

11. What say do the SFA get on the winning bidder?

We really don’t know except that they must have a major say. As they do not publish any details it is open to speculation.

12. Why does the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood just not do something about this?

Media is a matter that still rests with Westminster even although we have different broadcasters in Scotland. It means that we have to go to Westminster to get change. See

13. What do the Politicians say?

There is very strong cross party support for our campaign from all our representatives and Holyrood and at Westminster. See

14. What is the purpose of the petition?

  • To keep this subject in the public domain
  • To show politicians the depth of feeling about this issue
  • To show the desire of the nation to see its football team
  • To educate the SFA there are larger wider benefits from having the whole country able to watch our national team than just a few thousand
  • To develop support to get Scotland International matches listed as a crown jewels sport

15. What are the Sport Crown Jewels?

Ofcom’s “Listed events” rules ensure that major sporting events are freely available to all audiences, especially those who cannot afford to watch sport behind a paywall. Other European nations use similar legislation to ensure qualifying matches for their national teams remain free-to-air. Why can’t Scotland the UK as a whole follow suit? See

These are just some of the questions we have been asked. If you wish to speak to the campaign team or have another question to ask then please get in touch by emailing us at