Blackout at 3pm: Why can UK broadcasters broadcast live football today?

UK broadcasters will not be subject to the usual 3pm football blackout today after football matches in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were postponed as a show of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen, who was the UK’s longest-serving monarch, died on Thursday aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.

The Premier League, the English Football League and all four of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s football associations subsequently canceled this weekend’s games out of respect.

But, in a little quirk of circumstances, the cancellation of this weekend’s football games has also led to the cancellation of today’s 3:00pm blackout.

The 3pm football blackout means that no Premier League, Football League or FA Cup games can be broadcast live on UK television on Saturday between 2.45pm and 5.15pm.

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Article 48 of the UEFA statutes allows member countries to select a two-and-a-half-hour weekend slot in which live football is banned from screens. Some reports suggest its origins date back to the 1950s, but in England the rule only came into being in 1987 when ITV struck a major television deal with the Football League.

The rule is applied in the hope of protecting attendance throughout the soccer pyramid.

However, today there will be no blackout at 3pm because the absence of UK matches means that broadcasters can show matches live during this time without any potential impact on attendance.

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Therefore, Sky Sports will show live coverage of the Bundesliga match between Bayern Munich and Stuttgart, which starts at 14:30 BST, while Premier Sports will show Espanyol vs Sevilla in La Liga, which starts at 3:15 p.m.

the athletic has posted a comprehensive guide on the best matches to watch this weekend here.

Although UK football has decided to postpone all matches out of respect for the late Queen, other sports will play this weekend.

Test cricket, PGA golf championship and Premiership rugby have all opted to return to play on Saturday.

British horse racing will return on Sunday, while the Great North Run will continue as planned.

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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