Why Irish viewers can watch Ronaldo's debut even though game won't air in UK

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Why Irish Viewers Can Watch Ronaldo's Debut Even Though Game Won't Air In Uk Why Irish Viewers Can Watch Ronaldo's Debut Even Though Game Won't Air In Uk
Irish viewers will be able to watch the game on Premier Sports, with coverage starting at 2.30pm ahead of a 3pm kick off. 
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James Cox

Manchester United vs Newcastle is the biggest game in football today, mainly due to the second debut of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford after 12 years, in which he solidified his status as one of the greats of the game, has been highly anticipated among supporters.

Irish viewers will be able to watch the game on Premier Sports, with coverage starting at 2.30pm ahead of a 3pm kick off.

So why can't UK viewers watch the game?

There has been much frustration in the UK over the 3pm rule for a long time, with the issue coming to light every so often when a game in demand like today's is unavailable.

It is down to a decades-old '3pm blackout' rule. The blackout was designed to protect attendances at stadiums after the advent of the era of televised football.

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The rule was introduced in the 1960s. The blackout was a complete ban on the live broadcasting of any football match in the UK between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on Saturday.

Viewers and pundits have pointed out that it doesn't seem necessary in the modern game, particularly for Premier League teams who sell out their stadiums regardless.

“Eoin McDevitt, Damien Delaney and Neil Lennon will be on hand to bring fans all of the action this Saturday with live and exclusive coverage from 2.30pm,” Premier Sports said in a statement on today's game.

Ronaldo won three Premier Leagues at United along with one Champions League and the 2008 Ballon d'Or.

File photo dated 29-10-2008 of Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo.

Since then, he's gone on to win numerous accolades with Real Madrid and Juventus, only matched by his rival Lionel Messi.

Speaking ahead of his second debut for United, Ronaldo said: “I am not here for a vacation.

“Before was good, winning important things and I wore the shirt before, many years ago, but I am here to win again.

“I am capable, me and my team-mates. I am ready to go, I am ready to go. It is a good chance for me, for the supporters, for the club, to get one step ahead.

“I am ready and I think I will be a huge thing in the next three or four years.”

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