TV bosses are being urged to “do the right thing” and screen the Scotland team’s vital play-off matches for next year’s football World Cup for free.
SNP MPs made the plea ahead of the crucial draw – where manager Steve Clarke and his team will find out who they will face in a bid to secure a spot in the Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup.
Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, made the case for the games to be shown free to air in a letter to Jonathan Licht, the managing director of Sky Sports.
The Scotland men’s team has not qualified for a World Cup final since 1990, with the letter – also signed by SNP Westminster sports spokesman Gavin Newlands – arguing that the play-off games are a “national event” and should be able to be watched by all with no cost involved.
They are urging the broadcaster to screen both the semi-final play-off, and the final if the team are successful, on a free-to-air basis.
The two MPs told the TV boss: “This would ensure that every Scotland fan has the chance to watch these crucial matches without the need to pay a subscription fee.
“Households are already experiencing mounting bills across the board – they should not be forced to pay to watch this national event.”
Mr Blackford stated: “Anticipation and excitement is building across Scotland ahead of the play-off draw for the Fifa World Cup in Qatar next year.
“Steve Clarke’s team have brought us on a joyous journey that has united the Scottish public in support for these players and their dream of representing Scotland at the World Cup.
“I urge Sky Sports to do the right thing and make these games free-to-air so everyone is able to properly enjoy these huge games.”
Mr Newlands said: “Steve Clarke has done an outstanding job and people across Scotland are buzzing with excitement ahead of the draw and play-off matches.
“These play-off games are crucial and represent the final steps in the journey to the World Cup – and they deserve to be enjoyed without cost, constraint or restriction.
“There are a number of precedents for taking this step, the most recent being the decision to broadcast free-to-air Emma Raducanu’s remarkable achievement in winning the US Open final in September.
“We believe it is only right that a similar decision is taken in terms of broadcasting this major sporting event.”