Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP Gavin Newlands has hit out at the UK Government for not allowing free access to televised games of Scotland's national football team.

The SNP man met with John Whittingdale MP, Minister of State for Media and Data, earlier this week to explore the possibility of placing the Scotland team under listed events legislation.

This would mean the broadcast rights to these events would be offered to the main free-to-air terrestrial broadcasters.

Mr Newlands said he left the meeting disappointed after the proposal was rejected.

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On Friday, the Scotland team will play Cyprus in their Euro qualifying group, which will only be shown on the subscription channel Viaplay Sports 1.

Mr Newlands told The Gazette: "In what is an incredibly important week for Scottish football, the UK Government has shown they couldn't care less about our game and they hold Scottish football fans in contempt. 

"Scotland supporters are being priced out of watching their national team whilst English and Welsh fans can watch their sides for free this weekend. I want to see a similar offer for Scotland fans, but it's clear from my meeting with the Minister that the UK Government does not share that desire. 

"We are seeing one of the best Scotland sides in decades, with a game on Friday that could be the most important of Scotland’s qualifying campaign, and to inspire the next generation of talent we should not have to get past a paywall to see it.

"For years my SNP colleagues and I have fought to ensure fans can cheer on the Scotland team on their free-view TV channels and we are simply met with a shake of the head from the UK government - it speaks volumes about their disinterest in the success of our team and the experience of our fans."

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Earlier this week, Scottish football authorities claimed UK Government proposals to introduce strict controls on the movement of supporters' buses would "demonise" fans.

Mr Newlands added: "Whether it's by imposing draconian restrictions on travelling fans, or ensuring games remain behind extortionate paywalls, it's crystal clear the UK Government are failing Scotland fans, proving beyond doubt that to ensure access for all, and to give our team the backing it deserves, we must have the full powers of independence."

A UK Government spokesperson said: "The Government is keen to ensure the biggest sporting events are made available to the public throughout the UK which is why we have the listed events regime. 

"Our objective for the regime is to ensure that, where reasonable, key sporting events of national interest are widely available and free-to-air where, whilst noting that sport rights holders use income from the sale of broadcast rights to invest in their sports at all levels.

"The Government believes the current list strikes an appropriate balance and therefore has no plans to amend the regime. As sports policy is devolved, it would be for the Scottish Government to consider in the first instance whether there is currently the right balance between Scottish rights holders' ability to generate sufficient income and access for Scottish audiences to those sporting events."