Press release

Decision on Free-to-Air Listed Events deferred until 2013

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The decision to review the Free to Air list of sports events has been deferred until the end of the Digital Switchover process in 2012.

This was anounced by Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson today.

Hugh Robertson said:

“I fully support the principle of protecting major sports events for free to air coverage. But with Digital Switchover concluding in 2012, this will result in the widespread availability of a significantly increased number of television channels, many of which will be free to air. Add to this the BBC’s Strategy Review, which will cover sports rights, and the Ofcom Pay TV Review,  the broadcasting context for this decision is increasingly unclear.

“The current economic climate also points to us not making a decision at this time which could adversely impact on sport at the grassroots. I have therefore decided to defer any review until 2013, when we will look at this again.”

This announcement means the current list, drawn up in 1998, will remain in force.

This list is as follows:

Group A (Full Live Coverage Protected)

  • The Olympic Games
  • The FIFA World Cup Finals Tournament
  • The European Football Championship Finals Tournament
  • The FA Cup Final
  • The Scottish FA Cup Final (in Scotland)
  • The Grand National
  • The Wimbledon Tennis Finals
  • The Rugby World Cup Final
  • The Derby
  • The Rugby League Challenge Cup Final

Group B (Secondary Coverage Protected)     

  • Cricket Test Matches played in England
  • Non-Finals play in the Wimbledon Tournament
  • All Other Matches in the Rugby World Cup Finals Tournament
  • Six Nations Rugby Tournament Matches Involving Home Countries
  • The Commonwealth Games
  • The World Athletics Championship
  • The Cricket World Cup - the Final, Semi-finals and Matches Involving Home Nations’ Teams
  • The Ryder Cup
  • The Open Golf Championship

Notes to Editors

A review of the current list was commissioned in late 2008 and undertaken by an independent advisory panel chaired by ex-FA Executive Director, David Davies.  The review looked at the principle of having a list, the criteria for listing events and the specific events which should be listed. It concluded the following events should be listed:

Group A (Full Live Coverage Protected)

  • Summer Olympic Games (recommend de-listing Winter games)
  • The FIFA World Cup Finals Tournament
  • The European Football Championship Finals Tournament
  • The FA Cup Final
  • The Scottish FA Cup Final (in Scotland)
  • The Grand National
  • The Wimbledon Tennis Championship in its entirety
  • The Rugby Union World Cup Tournament in its entirety

Events Davies proposed be added to Group A List

  • Home and Away qualification matches in the FIFA World Cup
  • Home and Away qualification matches in the UEFA European Football Championships
  • The Open Golf Championship
  • Cricket’s Home Ashes Test Matches     
  • Wales matches in the Six Nations Rugby Championship (in Wales only)

Davies proposed abolishing the Group B List

In response to the Davies’ proposals, the previous Government launched its own consultation at the end of 2009. This consultation closed on 19 March 2010. 

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