ITV escapes Ofcom penalty after football gaffe

Ofcom received 201 complaints from angry viewers after the ITV1 coverage of the FA Cup fourth round replay between Everton and Liverpool last month was interrupted by advertising at a crucial moment.

However, the television regulator has cleared ITV of breach of broadcasting rules on scheduling and considers the matter resolved.

The unscheduled advertising break showing a Tic Tac campaign happened 18 seconds before Everton scored the winning goal of the match. Viewers in the Southern regions did not see the live goal being scored.

ITV Broadcasting agreed that ITV1 had not complied with the scheduling regulation and added that the incident had been due to “an operational human error.” Following the incident ITV reviewed its operating procedures relating to the use of contingency schedules and staff levels during complex live programming and introduced new measures.

Ofcom said that it understood that the unscheduled break on this occasion was “particularly disruptive and frustrating to viewers” but acknowledged the broadcaster’s swift action in indentifying the cause of the error and the remedies it had introduced.

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