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BT Sport ups broadcast offensive by airing Bradford City FA Cup quarter final for free after BBC snub

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By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

February 18, 2015 | 3 min read

BT Sport has announced it will broadcast for free Bradford City’s historic FA Cup quarter final clash with Reading after the BBC refused to pick up the side’s fixture for a second time.

The BBC, which had first and third picks of the quarter final fixtures, picked Premier League clashes Manchester United vs Arsenal and Aston Villa vs West Bromwich Albion, snubbing Bradford City’s first FA Cup quarter-final since 1976.

BT Sport, which takes second and fourth preference of the fixtures picked up the match however Bradford fans voiced their disappointment that their FA Cup journey would not be broadcast acrosss the nation for free by the BBC - as instead it would have been limited to BT Sport subscribers.

Fans of the West Yorkshire side, and viewers of underdog cup ties will now be able view the fixture on Saturday 7 March at 12.45pm on BT Sport 1 for free as the broadcaster capitalises upon the anti-BBC sentiment.

Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “The excitement of the FA Cup continues on BT Sport and we have two fantastic quarter-finals on the channel.

"This will be the second time that BT Sport have shown Bradford City in this year’s FA Cup and because Bradford City Football Club have been very passionate about the UK seeing their amazing club run, BT Sport have decided to make the game against Reading available to everyone to watch, online and via BT TV and Sky.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “We believe we have selected the most appealing quarter-final fixtures for our audiences, bearing in mind we share the order of picks with our broadcasting partners BT Sport.”

Bradford chairman Mark Lawn dubbed the BBC's decision "hypocritical" in an interview with the Mirror: “When you sell the competition and advertise your product as if you are doing it for the underdog and talk about the magic of the cup but that is only the case until all the big clubs come in.

“Then the smaller ones can bugger off. As soon as they have got a chance to go to the Premier League teams, they do.”

This comes after the Premier League rights were split between Sky and BT Sport last week in a three year deal worth £5.13bn.

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