The BBC has refused to back down on its decision to ax classified football results on Radio 5 Live and said continuing to broadcast the full service would “restrict the number of sports we could cover”.
A British radio institution that has been broadcasting since the 1950s, the full classified service was quietly dropped from Sports Report’s Saturday edition to make way for additional live coverage of Premier League matches which started at 17:30, a change from last season’s schedule. That decision was widely criticized amid suggestions the BBC is prioritizing Premier League football over the lower leagues, although BBC sources have told the Guardian it had only received “a handful of complaints” before the media of traditional communication would pick it up.
It has now been confirmed that the full results service will only be available on the BBC Sport website and during Final Score on BBC One and that there were “good reasons for the change”.
In a statement on Wednesday, the BBC said: “We have received some complaints from those unhappy that classified football results will no longer be read on Saturdays as part of Radio 5 Live’s Sports Report programme.
“We appreciate the strength of sentiment towards the football results classified within Sports Report. It’s always difficult when a show with a special story changes, but there are good reasons for the change.
“With the addition of the 5.30pm live Premier League match to our coverage, Sports Report has been condensed into a shorter programme, reduced from one hour to 25 minutes. The adverts used to last between five and seven minutes to read, which would have taken up around a third of the programme, restricting the range of sports we could cover.”
The statement added: “We would like to reassure our listeners that results from all football leagues will still be shared during the program and throughout the afternoon. Results are also available in full on the BBC Sport website and during Final Score on BBC One . Having a live game at 5.30 is a great addition to the calendar.”
Full results have been read on Saturday afternoons since the early 1950s. After first being introduced by John Webster, James Alexander Gordon took over in 1974 and became one of the most recognizable voices in British broadcasting, altering his tone of voice to indicate a home win, a home win or a draw, before moving on. the torch to Charlotte Green in 2013.
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