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Anger as BBC drops classified football results from 5 Live


The BBC has brought an end to a sporting institution with the announcement that it will discontinue its radio broadcast of the weekly classified football results.

The comprehensive results service has been a staple of its Saturday afternoon radio programming for five decades, and has been broadcast weekly on Radio 5 Live following Saturday afternoon’s 3pm kick offs since 1994.

The BBC explained the decision in a statement: “With the addition of the 5.30pm live Premier League match to our coverage, Sports Report has been condensed into a shorter programme,” it said. “We will still offer a comprehensive goal service throughout the day on air and on the BBC Sport website as well as Final Score on BBC One. We would like to thank everyone who has read the classified football results on 5 Live over the years.”

The decision seems to make a lot of sense with so many alternative methods of monitoring the day’s action in the digital age, but not everyone was pleased. The Times’ chief football writer Henry Winter took to Twitter to complain: “The reading of the classified football results on Sports Report has always been part of the Saturday match-day fabric for many fans. @5liveSport @bbc5live decision to scrap the service shows a lack of understanding of fans. It’s about continuity, the pyramid, information…”

Long-serving BBC football pundit Mark Lawrenson added: “Can’t believe the BBC have dropped the Reading of the Classified results on Sports Report. Talk about an OG..!!”

Not everyone was aghast at the decision however. Among fans in favour was Twitter user @CMG3432: “I’d say 90% of fans have mobile phones which show them the full time results and already know them before they are read out,” he said. “Times have changed and there is no reason to read them out anymore.”

Fellow fan @80sMotoring agreed: “The classified football results are as relevant as the shipping information to 99% of the population,” he said. “In time, that will also go and I’ll back them on that one too. Just because you always did something, doesn’t mean you should always continue to do so.”

The show will be remembered for far more than just the information it provided. The fictional result Forfar 4 East Fife 5, which finally became reality in July 2018, was a long-running staple of Eric Morecambe’s comedy. Music fans, meanwhile, fondly remember the time Manchester punk legend, the late Mark E Smith of The Fall, whose Theme from Sparta FC was also used as the show’s theme tune, read out the results in his inimitable style in 2005.

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Mark E Smith reads the classified results in 2005

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