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BSkyB asked to share Turkey game



The government is to ask BSkyB to share live coverage of England's crunch Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey next month with a terrestrial broadcaster as part of its bid to dissuade fans from travelling to the match.

Sports minister Richard Caborn will say it would act as a further deterrent for fans travelling to Istanbul without tickets.

"As a result of representations from colleagues we will approach broadcasters to share the match for this unique one-off occasion," Mr Caborn told the Daily Telegraph.

The satellite broadcaster paid £3m for the rights to exclusive live coverage of the match.

There is a long history of animosity between English and Turkish teams and the government fears violence at the match, which is being played in Istanbul on October 11.

The FA has declined its ticket allocation for the game and advised England fans not to travel.

Mr Caborn's announcement follows a House of Commons motion from his predecessor, Tony Banks, asking for "urgent discussions with BSkyB and BBC to see if an agreement might be reached in the national interest".

Mr Banks said: "I want to make sure we remove the last vestige of excuse for England fans to go to Istanbul. I might be excessively alarmist, but from my bitter experience of 2000 I fear Uefa are looking to make an example of England.

"I do not want to give Uefa an excuse and should England be banned from 2004, then they will almost definitely be banned from the 2006 World Cup."

There is a precedent for Sky to follow. In 1997, when England needed a draw in Italy to qualify for the World Cup in France the following year, it allowed ITV to show the game 'as live' immediately after the final whistle.