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Free-to-air internationals 'disastrous' for grassroots football

Scottish FA chief executive Gordan Smith insists making Scottish internationals free-to-air could be disastrous for grassroots football.

A review due from the department of culture, media and sport is expected to safeguard major sporting events including home nation internationals.  Former FA executive director David Davies was appointed to head the review, the conclusions of which Smith has said would dramatically reduce the SFA's investment in grassroots football and harm the game in Scotland.

"It seems like a great idea to say your games should be free-to-air," said Smith.

"It sounds like you're really considering the public, but it would have serious financial repercussions in terms of income that we bring in to the SFA. The biggest part of it in terms of finance is the development of the game.

"We work along with government and they realise that the more kids we have involved in football, playing the game, the better it will be for football, for health and fitness levels."

"It would have a massive impact. We know from the negotiations we've had recently that terrestrial stations can't compete with satellite stations in terms of the funding that's required to take the game forward." The government's recommendations for revised "listed events" that are made available to watch for free on terrestrial television will be published on Friday.

That list includes international football qualifiers for the home nations, the Wimbledon tennis championship, home Ashes cricket Tests and golf's Open championship.

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