The list of free-to-air sports events will not be reviewed until the end of Digital Switchover.
“I fully support the principle of protecting major sports events for free-to-air coverage,” said Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport.
“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 and reach the majority of viewers.
“Add to this the BBC’s Strategy Review, which will cover sports rights, and the Ofcom Pay TV Review, and the broadcasting context for changing the position now is increasingly unclear.
“In the current economic climate I am also concerned not to take action which could adversely impact on sport, in particular at grassroots level. 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.
A Free-to-Air Listed Events regime has operated in the UK for many years and has been reviewed periodically.
A review of the current list was commissioned in late 2008 to look at the principle of having a list, the criteria for listing events and the specific events which should be listed. In response to the review’s proposals, the previous Government ran a consultation.
We will place the material gathered as part of this consultation, in a suitably redacted form where confidential or commercially sensitive material has been provided, on this website at the earliest opportunity.