Betting companies agree to allow FA Cup games to be streamed on free platform

Betting companies who held streaming rights for FA Cup ties have agreed to allow the games to be streamed on a free platform such as the Football Association’s own website.

The FA was heavily criticised over the deal it had struck with sports media rights company IMG which allowed seven bookmakers to stream FA Cup matches to customers who held active accounts.

Last weekend’s FA Cup ties were used to promote the governing body’s ‘Heads Up’ mental health awareness campaign, something which jarred with the streaming agreement given the link between gambling addiction and health harms.

The deal was described as “worse than grubby” by Conservative MP Damian Collins on Wednesday, but the decision to allow the matches to be streamed free elsewhere removes the need to hold an active gambling account to watch the games.

A statement from Brigid Simmonds, the chairman of the Betting and Gaming Council, read: “Our members did not seek exclusivity for the rights to screen FA Cup games.

“They are therefore happy for IMG to offer the rights to screen these games to the Football Association or another appropriate body so that the games can be viewed for free by the public with immediate effect.”