ANGUS MP Mike Weir has backed the call by Brechin City chairman Ken Ferguson, and manager Jim Weir for the BBC and SKY television to reconsider their decision not to televise the club’s historic Carling Scottish Cup quarter-final tie.
However, one of the broadcasters involved has gone as far as try and pass the buck and hand some of the blame to the Scottish Football Association, an allegation that was blown out of the water.
In his Early Day Motion to Parliament Mr Weir said: “That this house congratulates Brechin City Football Club in their magnificent achievement in reaching the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup for the first time in their long history; congratulates the players and manager Jim Weir; notes that Brechin City is one of the last remaining clubs owned by its members; regrets the decision of broadcasters not to cover the match on television and calls upon them to reconsider the decision and allow Brechiners everywhere to join in this historic occasion.”
Jim Weir said: “I cannot understand for the life of me why, the only part-time club in Scotland left in the competition has been singled out in this way.
“Had we been in England, and a small minnow, you would have seen us all over Sky and the BBC.
“What makes the decision all the more frustrating for our committee members is the fact that we are the only part-time side left in the competition.
“Faced with a trip to Paisley or a trip to Brechin both companies have made the easy decision.
“While its good to have the support of the local MP, and I know our fans have been writing letters and complaints regarding the matter, I would also hope the football authorities would contemplate making representations to both companies.”
City chairman Ken Ferguson, said that he continued to be positive, given the club was facing the biggest ever game in their history.
He added: “What I find strange is the St Mirren Aberdeen game was described by a representative at the BBC as having the potential to be a “competitive game”. “Don’t they think that our game will be competitive?”
“You also have the issue that the BBC is a public broadcaster who market their coverage of the competition as “The Road to Hampden”. Well we have travelled further down that road than any of the remaining teams in the competition.
“Add to that the fact that St Mirren versus Aberdeen already happens four times a season, as do the other all SPL ties.
“This was the only remaining opportunity to highlight the chance of an underdog. We remain positive about the outlook, however, and television or not, I am 100 per cent certain this will be a memorable day for the city of Brechin.”
BBC spokesman, Roy Templeton, defended the decision and said games between St Mirren and Aberdeen had “always been close.”
“Sky have the first two picks on the games. They chose their games and we are left with the two options after that.
“We chose St Mirren v Aberdeen because we feel they are all relatively close games. We appreciate we were never going to please everybody.
“However, we are happy that the grounds we chose it on - the fact it has been a close game in the past and that people are more likely to be interested in it
“People can listen to the Brechin game live on Radio Scotland and it will be on our highlights programme on Sunday the night.
“We are aware that people in Brechin won’t be happy with the decision.
“The length of the highlights package is an editorial decision, depending on what it merits.
A spokesperson for SKY said they would “refuse to comment further on the matter.”
However, she added, that any blame didn’t solely lay with SKY as the decision was “a joint one made in association with the SFA.”
However, SFA spokesman Darryl Broadfoot rubbished Sky’s suggestion of a joint decision, pointing out that the SFA’s role in the process was purely to facilitate the draw and subsequent matches.
He added: “The rest of the logistics is then left up to the broadcasters involved, and they will then contact the clubs.
“However, the SFA play no part in deciding which games are televised.”