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Oct 8, 2009

FA to screen England Under 21s online

Amid the controversy that surrounds the screening of England's World Cup qualifier with Ukraine exclusively via the internet the Football Association have announced that Friday's Under-21 international with Macedonia will be shown live on its own website.

• Fans angry over web screening

With no replacement deal in place following the demise of TV broadcaster Setanta, the FA have opted to put the under-21 side on www.thefa.com to give fans the chance to watch the match, which takes place at the Ricoh Arena.

"This is the best way to ensure as many fans as possible get the chance to see England's young stars for free," said an FA statement.

UK broadcasters were unable to schedule the match during peak time, although this is bound to be one of the issues FA chief executive Ian Watmore will try to address as he attempts to negotiate a replacement contract.

The BBC appear current favourites to pick up the remaining parts of the Setanta contract. Watmore has previously adopted a relaxed approach to the matter and struck a deal with BSkyB to cover the Community Shield in August.

However, bullishness over the cash the FA might be able to pull in has evaporated following the refusal of any broadcaster to pick up Saturday's match in the Ukraine, which will be the first time any England game has not been shown on TV, pictures instead being made available on various newspaper internet sites and also in cinemas.

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