Robbie Slater lashes Socceroos 'disgrace' as fans left fuming over 'appalling' TV farce

Fans are furious that the Socceroos' World Cup qualifier was behind a paywall.

The Socceroos continued their perfect 2026 World Cup qualification journey on Thursday night with a 2-0 win over Bangladesh, but many football fans were left furious that they were unable to watch it. The Socceroos' qualifier was behind a paywall on Paramount Plus, meaning viewers had to sign up to the streaming service if they wanted to watch their national football side in action.

Network 10 and its streaming affiliate Paramount Plus holds the rights to Australia's national teams' matches but the games had up until now been able to be watched either on Paramount Plus or live on the 10play app. However, while the previous Socceroos qualifiers were able to be viewed through the 10play app, Thursday night's game against Bangladesh could only be watched live on the subscription streaming service.

Pictured left Robbie Slater and right Jackson Irvine
Robbie Slater called out football broadcast rights as the Socceroos' World Cup qualifier was behind a paywall. Image: Getty

This is despite the 10play website stating: "Fans can watch Socceroos matches LIVE and free on 10 Play". Football fans and freelance writer Pablo Bateson were among those who vented their anger at Thursday night's qualifier being behind a paywall writing on X: "Very disappointing the Socceroos WCQ vs Bangladesh is not on FTA (free-to-air) - needs an explanation by Football AUS as to why this has been allowed to happen?”

Socceroos legend Robbie Slater was one of the first to respond to Bateson's post writing: "Absolute disgrace!" A fan replied to the Socceroo legend asking: "Can’t you do something about it, Robbie?". To which Slater replied: "Haha no but the FA should have! Too late now."

The Socceroos’ final World Cup qualifying match is against Palestine on June 11 and that match will be able to be watched live on 10, 10 Play, and Paramount Plus. However, fans are growing concerned that more and more future qualifiers may only be exclusively viewed through Paramount Plus.

The landscape of live sports continues to shift towards streaming services. As well as some of the Socceroos matches only being able to watch exclusively on Paramount Plus, the T20 Cricket World Cup is exclusive to Amazon Prime, the EPL and upcoming Euros is exclusive to Optus Sport, the Champions League is exclusive to Stan Sport and certain AFL and NRL games are exclusive to Kayo.

This has made Australian sports lovers' lives a whole lot more difficult and a whole lot more expensive. And the latest move by Network 10 saw social media flooded with numerous angry football fans.

Despite their lack of national coverage, the Socceroos have been flawless in their World Cup qualification to date, with the victory over Bangladesh seeing the team improve to 5-0 in Group I and they have already secured progress to the next stage.

Australia’s journey towards the 2026 World Cup in Canada, Mexico and the United States will continue in September when the third round gets underway. Before that they have a final second-round match against Palestine on June 11.


Australia's performance against Bangladesh wasn't anything to write home about. While never looking in doubt of winning, the Socceroos didn't create many opportunities in front of goal.

Arjun Hrustic broke the deadlock in the 19th minute with his heavily deflected shot nestling in the net. Kusini Yengi then made it two with a header in the 62nd minute.

Aussie fans were also hoping boom teenager Nestory Irankunda would have showcased why he is one of the hottest young prospects in football. But the Bayern Munich-bound youngster failed to impress.

Australia's Nestory Irankunda (L) fights for the ball with Bangladesh's Isa Faysal during the 2026 FIFA World Cup Asian qualification football match between Bangladesh and Australia at the Bashundhara Kings Arena in Dhaka on June 6, 2024. (Photo by MUNIR UZ ZAMAN / AFP) (Photo by MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Nestory Irankunda's Socceroos debut was underwhelming.

Irankunda admitted after the game that he "could have done better" in his Socceroos debut but said he was "really proud" to pull on the green and gold. "It’s a dream come true for me," he said.

"It was just my decision-making that let me down but I did do the right thing sometimes. There is still space for improvement. We did well (considering) the conditions. We got the result that we came for and a clean sheet as well."