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In the week MPs formally started the process of privatisation, Mail Sport can reveal Channel 4 has won the fight to host England’s European Championship qualifiers.

It means the channel will now broadcast all of England’s upcoming qualifying matches, having already secured the rights to the UEFA Nations League campaign involving games against Germany, Italy and Hungary this summer.

The draw for the qualifying round of the 2024 European Championships, which will take place in Germany, is scheduled for Frankfurt on October 9 this year with England expected to be among the top seeds. The matches will then be played between March 2023 and 2024.

Channel 4 have won the rights to show England's Nations League fixtures this summer

Channel 4 have won the rights to show England's Nations League fixtures this summer

Channel 4 have won the rights to show England’s Nations League fixtures this summer

A total of 20 Three Lions matches will be shown on free-to-air television in the next two years

A total of 20 Three Lions matches will be shown on free-to-air television in the next two years

A total of 20 Three Lions matches will be shown on free-to-air television in the next two years

ENGLAND’S NATIONS LEAGUE FIXTURES 

June 4: England vs Hungary (5pm)

June 7: Germany vs England (7:45pm)

June 11: England vs Italy (7:45pm)

June 14: England vs Hungary (7:45pm)

September 23: Italy vs England (7:45pm)

September 26: England vs Germany (7:45pm) 

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Channel 4 have made increasingly significant inroads into the world of sports broadcasting, landing marquee events such as the 2019 Cricket World Cup win for England, Emma Raducanu’s US Open final and the Formula 1 finale in Abu Dhabi last season. Longer term projects have included Channel 4 Racing and the Paralympics.

Yet to have the bulk of England’s games in World Cup year – before and after the 2022 tournament in Qatar – is seen as a huge coup, with ITV no longer England’s home, as it has been since 2017.

The Football Association claim to be relaxed about the switch, despite suggestions UEFA have sold the rights for less than could have been received if negotiated independently. It is also thought Channel 4 might favour innovative ideas around presenters and commentators, moving away from some of the traditional names associated with England in the past.

The deal does not cover the rights to matches at this year’s World Cup in Qatar, which will be screened on the BBC and ITV. 

‘After bringing some of the biggest sporting moments of last year to the nation, I’m delighted that Channel 4 will be airing so many mouth-watering England matches on free to air television,’ Channel 4’s Chief Content Officer Ian Katz said. 

‘This deal shows Channel 4 can compete for some of the biggest properties in sport and will bring substantial new audiences to our award-winning slate of original programming.’ 

‘England matches against Germany are always an exciting prospect and I’m sure the team will be keen to set the record straight against Italy after the defeat in the final of the UEFA EURO,’ Channel 4’s Head of Sport Pete Andrews added.

Six Nations League games will help Gareth Southgate's side prepare for the World Cup in Qatar

Six Nations League games will help Gareth Southgate's side prepare for the World Cup in Qatar

Six Nations League games will help Gareth Southgate’s side prepare for the World Cup in Qatar

England will face Italy in the Nations League this summer in a repeat of the Euro 2020 final

England will face Italy in the Nations League this summer in a repeat of the Euro 2020 final

England will face Italy in the Nations League this summer in a repeat of the Euro 2020 final

‘We’re absolutely delighted to have secured this deal with UEFA and I’m sure England fans will be looking forward to the summer with great anticipation.’

Channel 4 has been admired for its sports coverage in recent years, with its broadcasting of cricket said to have had a huge impact on participation levels, particularly following the 2005 Ashes series and England’s 2019 World Cup win. It has held the rights to the Paralympic Summer and Winter Games since London 2012.

In 2021, the terrestrial broadcaster showed Raducanu’s sensational victory in the US Open final as well as the winner-takes-all F1 finale in Abu Dhabi which saw Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton. 

This year’s Nations League will be the third edition of the competition, with England reaching the finals in its inaugural year in 2019. 

Gareth Southgate’s side will face four fixtures in June followed by two in September, with the semis and final due to be played in June 2023. 

Channel 4 showed the F1 finale in 2021 which saw Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton

Channel 4 showed the F1 finale in 2021 which saw Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton

Channel 4 showed the F1 finale in 2021 which saw Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton

Source: DailyMail Sports

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