Why broadcasters won't show U21 Euros live as Women's World Cup prioritised
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The 2023 Euro U21 Championship kicks off on Wednesday with 16 teams going toe-to-toe to claim the age-group competition - yet fans based in the United Kingdom will not be able to watch their team progress on television.
The U21 Euros, which takes place in Romania and Georgia, sees Lee Carsley’s young England side take on the Czech Republic in their opening game.
However, no UK broadcaster has picked up the rights to the competition. Sky Sports committed to showing the 2021 rendition of the tournament, which saw England eliminated from the group stage, but this time has not bid for the rights.
Meanwhile, the BBC recently aired England U21 fixtures, which were made available on the red button. However, they too passed up the opportunity to document the competition, despite it being stacked with Premier League talent.
Newcastle's £45million January signing Anthony Gordon is set to feature alongside Liverpool’s Curtis Jones and Chelsea’s Levi Colwill, with the latter having even travelled with Gareth Southgate’s seniors last week.
UEFA announced earlier this week that games will be available for UK-based fans to stream via their online service.
Why broadcasters aren’t showing the U21 Euro?
According to the Mail Online, the FA are disappointed by the lack of interest from TV companies and due to UEFA regulations, they are unable to stream matches on their own YouTube channel.
The publication claims that broadcasting resources are instead being reserved for the women’s World Cup in Australia.
The women’s tournament, which is jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand, is scheduled to take place from 20 July to 20 August. In turn, the competition is set to begin some 12 days after the conclusion of the men’s U21 Euros.
Moreover, back in March the Mail Online claimed that Sky had not bid to broadcast the Euros due to spending cuts which have resulted in reduced coverage of international football. Sky Sports had previously broadcasted every Euro U21 tournament since 2007.
The report added at the time that terrestrial broadcasters were in a “standoff” with UEFA, with UK companies unwilling to air the competition on their main channels.
UEFA allegedly wanted a guarantee of bigger audiences for when the tournament kicked off.