The reason millions of fans will miss Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United

The reason millions of fans will miss Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Manchester United

While the world of soccer keeps busy with the remnant of the first FIFA date of the season; Many fans are already looking forward to the weekend as the Premier League prepares for what could be the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United.

Almost a decade after his departure, Cristiano is back and eligible to make his second debut wearing the United jersey, as he prepares to face Newcastle on Saturday at Old Trafford.

Shortly after becoming the all-time top scorer in men’s football last Wednesday, Ronaldo left the concentration of the Portugal team to fly to the United Kingdom on Friday. After undergoing his mandatory five-day quarantine period, the Portuguese star caused a stir at United’s training complex in Carrington where he will only have time to do a couple of training sessions with his new / old club before playing his next match. .

However, multiple sources have informed ESPN reporter Rob Dawson that United remain hopeful that the 36-year-old striker will be in full physical condition and ready to play at least part of the match, despite having completed his transfer since the match. Juventus just eight days ago.

The bad news for football fans in the UK is that the game against Newcastle will not be broadcast live on UK television, denying millions of fans the chance to see him play in United’s number 7 jersey for the first time. time since 2009.

The matches that British television stations will broadcast live were chosen several weeks ago. Therefore, it is already too late to reschedule the Manchester United-Newcastle match start time, scheduled for 3 pm.This means that the match will not be able to be broadcast live in the United Kingdom due to a rule that has remained in force in said country for more than 40 years, known as the “3 pm lockdown”

The rule indicates that no football match of any kind, whether of the Premier League, Championship or even Bundesliga or LaLiga, can be broadcast live on British television on Saturdays between 2:45 pm and 5:15 pm This rule excluded initially the FA Cup final; however, the decisive and staged encounter at Wrigley begins at 5:15 pm from its 2012 edition.

The rule has been in effect since the 1960s, when it was originally proposed by Burnley president Bob Lord, who argued that televising games traditionally staged on Saturdays at 3 p.m. would negatively affect the box office across the football pyramid. English, from the first professional division to amateur matches played out of the league. Football matches have been broadcast on British television since 1938, although live match broadcasting did not become a fixture of programming until the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Lord stood firm in his position, stating that broadcasting football matches on television at 3 pm would “hurt and hurt” attendance at stadiums, motivating fans to stay home and watch games there. The Burnley president even went so far as to ban the BBC cameras from broadcasting live matches on Turf Moor for five years to prevent this from happening. Lord, a fervent opponent of televised football in general, slowly convinced his fellow presidents of the then-called Football League that broadcasting matches at 3 p.m. would lower his precious ticket office revenue and, obviously, the measure was little adopted. then across the country. The rule has been in effect ever since and is the reason why the last day of the Premier League season is always scheduled on Sunday, thus allowing all 10 matches to be staged simultaneously at 3pm.

The ban on broadcasting football games on Saturday afternoons was suspended last year as part of the Premier League’s “Project Restart” to allow fans, who were banned from stadiums due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 19, could witness the matches played behind closed doors. Since then, the norm has been reestablished for the 2021-22 season after allowing fans to return to matches.

Although the rule allows all radio coverage, it extends to all foreign league matches broadcast live on television in the UK. This implies that many channels are forced to start covering some matches staged in Spain and Italy (for example) after the end of the first half.

What began as an agreement between the presidents of the Football League in the 1960s is now an effective part of the UEFA rules. Article 48 of the statutes of the European football regulatory body indicates that any member association can establish a space of two and a half hours on Saturdays or Sundays in which the transmission of football matches on television is prohibited.

The rule remains in force in England, not with the intention of protecting the box office revenue in the Premier League, but to preserve it in the rest of the levels of the pyramid of English football, which is the league system in Europe with the highest figures. attendance at meetings.

Likewise, this rule is not necessary to dissuade a subscriber from a lower level team from attending the match of the club of his / her love, instead of staying to watch a lavish Premier League game on television. The intention is to encourage casual fans to maintain attendance figures for smaller club stadiums, thereby providing much needed crowd and ticket revenue.

Many of these lower-tier clubs rely heavily on this revenue generated on Saturdays at 3pm to continue to exist.

Of course, there is no certain way to know if the repeal of the rule would substantially harm stadium attendance and revenue collection, causing the entire soccer pyramid to collapse without doing so. Fans are likely to prefer to continue braving the strong winds and torrential downpours while seeing their local clubs in person at 3pm on Saturdays, despite a Premier League match being broadcast on television. However, the risk of the pyramid collapsing from its foundations remains very high.

You might wonder why other major leagues in Europe and around the world do not have similar standards in place. This is because, simply put, none of these circuits feel the same level of reverence at a specific match start time as English and British football do at 3 p.m. Saturdays, in fact, due to the great dispersion of schedules in other major circuits such as LaLiga (Spain), Bundesliga (Germany) and Serie A (Italy), these leagues do not even qualify to impose a ban on television broadcasts at a particular time.

According to UEFA statutes, 50% of matches in the two highest divisions must be started simultaneously if a 2.5-hour TV broadcast ban is to be imposed. This is the case in England and Scotland (73% and 90%, respectively); while in Germany the figure does not exceed 28%. In Italy it is only 15% and in Spain there are no LaLiga matches with simultaneous starts to avoid congestion.

This Saturday game start time at 3 pm has been part of the idiosyncrasy of English football since the 19th century, when the country’s traditional working class would leave the factories after fulfilling their morning shift to head directly to the soccer fields. The reality of the situation is that no other league does it in the same way.

Well there you have it: the reason local Manchester United fans won’t be able to see Cristiano Ronaldo return to the Premier League is due to a rule that has its roots in the very beginnings of league football in England, and that it remains in effect with the intention of protecting your future.

With the collaboration of ESPN reporter Dale Johnson

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