UK Fans Miss Out On Bellingham’s Live El Clasico Debut

'Golden Boy' Bellingham

Real Madrid star: Jude Bellingham. Credit: BellinghamJude/X

THANKS to a law dating back to the 1960s, Saturday’s much-anticipated El Clasico featuring  Jude Bellingham will not be able to be viewed live in the UK.

On Saturday, October 28, the football world turns its attention to Spain’s Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys, as Futbol Club Barcelona meet Real Madrid. But for fans in the UK, a decades-old regulation will keep them from witnessing the much-anticipated El Clasico debut of England’s own Jude Bellingham, writes ABC.

Historic Blackout Rule

The UK has a unique broadcasting rule in place, dating back to the 1960s. No football matches can be aired between 2:45 pm and 5:15 pm UK time. The purpose of this law is to encourage fans to attend local matches in person, particularly in the smaller leagues, preventing top-tier games from overshadowing them.

Saturday’s El Clasico, arguably the world’s most famous football derby, between Barcelona and Real Madrid, kicks off at 4:15 pm Spanish time, specifically scheduled for maximum exposure around the world. This translates to 3:15 p.m. in the UK, falling squarely within the broadcasting blackout period.

Protecting Local Games

This isn’t a modern phenomenon. The rule’s origins trace back to complaints from Burnley’s president in the 1960s. He believed televised matches adversely impacted attendances at lower-league games.

Supported by UEFA, this regulation allows each federation to have a two-and-a-half-hour football-free slot. Expected to remain until 2029, it has previously clashed with other El Clasico fixtures.

Bellingham’s Missed Debut

Many English fans will be disappointed to miss Jude Bellingham, the rising star of Real Madrid, making his first appearance in Real’s iconic white shirt during an El Clasico.

Many fans have eagerly awaited this moment from the player who’s quickly becoming the English team’s standout performer. Bellingham, recently recovering from an incident at the Braga Municipal Stadium during a Champions League game, confirmed his participation on the Montjuic field.

Keegan Pierce, Managing Director of LaLiga in the UK and Ireland said: ‘We are disappointed that British fans will not be able to watch the Clasico this weekend due to the self-imposed television blackout on Saturdays.

‘Although we fully support the measures to promote attendance at stadiums, we believe that the blackout should be limited to national matches, not international matches, which also do not participate in this regulation.’

Peirce added: ‘It is an issue that we hope to work on with the industry and local authorities in the coming months.’

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.