Michael Grade: ITV FA Cup mistake was inexcusable

Michael Grade, ITV’s executive chairman, has apologised for the ‘inexcusable’mistake that meant viewers watched adverts while Everton scored their late winning goal in last night’s live FA Cup match.

In the second period of extra time, coverage of the FA Cup fourth round replay was interrupted by an advert break.

In some ITV regions, pictures returned in time to see Dan Gosling score Everton’s winner.

But in other regions, particularly in the South, coverage only resumed during Gosling’s celebrations.

Grade said: ‘Most importantly I’d like to apologise to all our viewers who were affected by last night’s unprecedented technical error.

‘As a football fan myself I was glued to the match and was as disappointed as anyone to miss the goal.

‘We have years of experience in dealing with the changes in ad break patterns when games go into extra time and, sometimes penalties – this we have done faultlessly through the Champions League, World Cup and European Championships.

‘Last night’s glitch was inexcusable and we are awaiting the results of our technical inquiry so we can put in place stringent and immediate procedures to address this.”

ITV blamed the error on the transmission centre, rather than ITV Sport’s production team.

Comments on The Guardian’s website included: ‘You have to laugh.

‘The worst game in the history of football and, after 118 torturous minutes, they miss the only crumb of excitement. Only ITV.”

ITV have already been criticised for their FA Cup coverage this season. In the First Round match between Histon and Leeds, fans stole a microphone and swore into it.

They were also criticised for their choice of fixtures in the Fourth Round – showing big-name ties rather than those with a chance of an upset – and for neglecting exciting games in their highlights show.

This week, it was announced Sky had paid more than £1bn for Premier League rights from 2010 to 2013, and BBC had paid £173m for the highlights package.

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