There’s many ways to watch live football online, whether you’re after the latest Premier League action, UEFA Champions League games or FA Cup fixtures.
While it’s easy enough to find low-quality streaming sites of dubious legality, it’s even easier to find high quality streams that are free and not riddled with malware.
Not every legitimate streaming service out there is completely free, but they’re certainly cheaper than forking out for an Arsenal season ticket. Here are the best ways you can enjoy the best football action from the UK, Europe and around the world without having to break the law.
BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport – Up to 16 FA Cup live matches plus FA Cup Catch-up highlights and SPFL League
The BBC have the broadcast rights for up to 16 live FA Cup games this season, with the remaining games to be shown on BT Sport.
The next set of games to be broadcast on the BBC will be third round fixtures from Friday, January 2 to Monday, January 5. Coverage of the third round draw will take place on Monday, December 8.
Matches will be streamed live online at the BBC Sport site. You’ll also be able to watch goals and highlights on BBC iPlayer on a catch-up basis.
SPFL games broadcast live on BBC ALBA can be watched live on BBC iPlayer.
While the BBC’s services are free at the point of use, you’ll need to have a TV Licence if you want to watch any games live. Note that while there’s nothing physically stopping you from watching live games, if you’re caught you’re likely to be prosecuted.
ITV Player – UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League
All of ITV’s 16 Tuesday night Champions League games can be streamed live from the ITV Player.
Sky has broadcast rights to seven live games on Tuesday nights and eight games on Wednesdays.
BT Sport has exclusive coverage rights to the UEFA Champions League games for the next three seasons.
ITV also has the first and second choice matches from the UEFA Europa League plus exclusive rights to screen the 2015 UEFA Europa League Final live on TV. The remaining games will be shown on BT Sport.
As with BBC Sport and iPlayer, you legally can’t watch any live ITV Player content without a TV Licence.
Sky Go – Barclays Premier League, UEFA Champions League, SPFL League, Sky Bet, La Liga and more
Sky Sports has the lion’s share of Premier League games – 116 fixtures from the 2014/15 season – along with every non-UK Euro 2016 qualifier plus Sky Bet, La Liga, Coppa Italia and Copa del Rey action.
All seven Sky Sports channels can be watched live online or on the go through Sky Go.
Sky Go is Sky’s remote viewing service for Sky TV subscribers. In order to watch the action online you’ll need a Sky ID.
You get two Sky IDs as standard included with your Sky TV subscription. If you want to watch the game on multiple devices you can pay for Sky Go Extra, which costs an additional £5/month.
Sky Sports starts from £24.50/month on top of the basic £21.50/month package of Sky TV channels for a grand total of £46/month.
BT Sport – Barclays Premier League, FA Cup, UEFA Europa League, Bundesliga, Serie A and more
All BT Broadband customers can access the BT Sport online portal by signing in with their BT ID. You can also watch games on your phone or tablet this way.
You don’t need to be a BT TV customer in order to watch BT Sport online. If you’re a Sky TV customer subscribing to BT Sport, you can access the BT Sport online player too.
Other content available to stream online includes live action from Ligue 1, Primeira Liga, Brasileirao, Major League Soccer and A-League.
BT Broadband starts at £21.99/month and the new entry-level BT TV Starter pack is free for 18 months.
The BT Sport TV channels – BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN – are available in standard definition at no extra cost. To get these channels again in HD, you’ll need to pay an extra £3/month.
When taken with Sky TV, BT Sport costs an extra £12/month for the channels in SD and £15/month in HD.
Virgin TV customers can get BT Sport HD for £15/month, with Virgin TV XL customers getting all six channels for free.
Virgin Media – ITV and BT Sport through TV Anywhere and Sky Sports
Virgin TV customers can watch football online through the TV Anywhere portal. This gives you access to live games broadcast on ITV.
If you’re a BT Sport subscriber you can watch BT Sport channels through TV Anywhere as well.
Virgin Media customers can also watch Sky Sports content but you’ll need to head over to the Sky Sports site, click the Virgin Media logo on the sign in screen and then enter your My Virgin Media username and password.