7:36am Monday 25th June 2012
By Bill Gardner
THOUSANDS of Albion fans anxious for highlights of their team in action will be left in the dark next season.
An internal BBC email leaked to The Argus has revealed no Albion match reports or previews will be shown on sports bulletins in West Sussex from August.
Instead, viewers in towns including Worthing, Crawley and Haywards Heath will only see highlights from games involving Reading, Southampton, Portsmouth, Bournemouth and Aldershot.
After the digital switchover in March, households in Brighton and Hove and east of the River Adur now watch BBC South East Today, which will continue to show Albion highlights.
But West Sussex viewers still served by BBC South Today will suffer from the corporation’s decision to scale back Brighton and Hove coverage on the programme.
Outraged Albion fan David Boreham from Haywards Heath described the BBC’s decision as “a joke”.
He said: “They seem to think all Seagulls fans come from Brighton but they couldn’t be more wrong.
“Albion have thousands of licence-paying fans across West Sussex and they are all going to be furious about this.
“This ridiculous decision has been made by people who clearly don’t understand football and don’t understand Sussex.”
The leaked BBC South Today internal email read: “We won’t cover pre-season friendlies of Brighton or Crawley or deliver football previews of those teams.
“They won’t feature in our Monday night goals round up at 18.30. We won’t be going to their weekly press conferences – they are for BBC South East Today staff to cover.
“This is in line with our phased approach to reducing coverage of stories and events in Brighton and Hove and Shoreham.”
Liz Costa, vice chairman of Albion supporters' club, said the move was “outrageous”.
She said: “We have 20 coachloads of fans from West Sussex coming for every game so for the BBC to decide they don’t deserve to see highlights of their team is disgusting.
“So many people are going to be disappointed by this decision.”
A BBC spokeswoman admitted the internal email was genuine and said: “Following the digital switchover in March this year, people in Brighton and Hove and as far west as the River Adur are now served by BBC South East Today. The BBC made this decision so that people living in the Brighton area will see more stories about where they live. This means supporters of Brighton and Hove Albion will see more stories about their club.”
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