Streaming England's game in Ukraine on the internet shows just how little fans count for in the modern game

Have you wondered why you have not seen much criticism of England's World Cup qualifier in the Ukraine only being shown on the internet?

I'll tell you why. Because the majority of national newspapers are selling it through their own websites for a nice tidy little profit with no hassle.

Trouble is, if you've ever used the BBC iPlayer then you've either got the best broadband service ever and a state-of-the-art laptop or, like me, live streaming is more like live stop starting.

England's World Cup game on the internet the future? Do me a favour. That may be the way the game is heading but we're simply not ready for it yet.

Rewind a few years and it's like bringing out microwave chips before microwaves were invented. They're great now if you like that sort of thing but would be pretty pointless before microwaves.

You won't be able to watch the game in the pub with your mates and the best for many people is to be crouched round a laptop hoping for it to run smoothly.

And you get to pay up to £11.99 for the privilege.

This is not the FA's fault. The rights were bought for £5.5million by sports agency Kentaro, sold to Setanta and then when, the digital broadcaster went bust, were up for grabs again.

With England already qualified, there were no takers so here we are with the game being shown live on the web only.

There's no way I'd buy it if I wasn't already lucky enough to be sent to cover the game in Dnipropetrovsk. (Wish me luck in getting a taxi to and from there.)

Furthermore, to add insult to injury, Fabio Capello will have to play a full strength team because FIFA want to see fair play in the battle between Ukraine and Croatia for second place in the Group.

Don't get me wrong, I want to see England win the game. But I'd also enjoy seeing one or two experiments being made.

Gabby Agbonlahor, for example, up front. Gary Cahill in central defence. They're both in the squad so maybe they'll get a chance. I doubt it.

But I can't understand why Darren Bent doesn't get a chance. He is a seriously under-rated player. He is so prolific in the Premier League and can play the lone striker role. He deserves a chance.

Sadly, it's been taken out of Fabio's hands. The directive has been sent from FIFA to the FA, telling them: Pick your best team. Bearing in mind, England are bidding for the 2018 World Cup, they can't afford to do anything wrong.

What a shame then that FIFA who are all to quick to look after countries like Croatia and Ukraine don't step in to look after the average football fan.

The Government too. I don't believe that every competitive England game should be part of the "crown jewels" protected games to only be shown on terrestial TV.

But if the Government can get involved to that level then why can't they step in and ensure that games are at least shown on the box rather than just a laptop.

There are millions of people in this country without a computer. My mum and dad for a start. I bought my beloved mum a digital camera for her birthday and it's like I had told her that the moon is in fact made of cheese. It's not her fault. It's just a different generation.

Yes, football is moving forward and games on the internet are the future. I mean, we're kidding ourselves if we don't think millions illegally watch games on the internet every weekend or go to pubs with dodgy Scandanavian feeds.

But until technology is up to date in the majority of homes it's a disgrace that this has been allowed to happen.

I'm rather proud of the fact that the Daily Mirror is not showing the game on its website. It's not raking in the ten per cent of every £11.99 that is paid. That's the deal.

There has also been a one million limit on the number of subscribers to ensure the feed and the internet can cope with demand.

To be honest, they should not have bothered. I bet it won't get close to one million.

Once again, fans are being taken for a ride. And one day, when it's far too late, football will realise that they can't be taken for granted.

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williamhill.com

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