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Monday, 12 August, 2002, 00:29 GMT 01:29 UK
ITV and Sky rapped over World Cup
The match was moved for the England-Sweden game
ITV broke programming rules when it switched coverage of a World Cup match from its terrestrial channel to its digital one before the game ended, television regulators have ruled.

The Independent Television Commission (ITC) said it should have been consulted over the decision to ditch the Paraguay-South Africa match from ITV1 halfway through and screen it on ITV2.


The decision to move coverage of the match without application to the commission put the network in breach

Independent Television Commission
And Sky News has also been cautioned after broadcasting a live World Cup news bulletin at 0920 BST in which England fans could be heard swearing.

Sky said it regretted the incident which was "unpredictable and brief".

The commission investigated the ITV case after viewers complained when the match was moved to make way for the start of the England-Sweden game, excluding non-digital viewers.

Coverage of the World Cup is protected by law as it is a "listed event" under the Broadcasting Act 1996.

Many viewers would not have had access to the digital channel.

However, ITV escaped a financial penalty because the regulator said the match amounted to a "small part" of the overall competition.

Legally bound

ITV said it was concerned the Paraguay-South Africa game was likely to over-run.

This would have cut into the contractual commitment to show pictures from the stadium where England was playing at least five minutes before the kick-off.

The ITC accepted there was more interest in the England match, but said broadcasters were legally bound to get permission if there were any changes in national coverage of important sports events.

"The decision to move coverage of the match without application to the commission put the network in breach," said the ITC.

It added: "Since the breach related only to a small part of the listed event, it was felt that a sanction would not be appropriate on this occasion."

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17 Jun 02 | Entertainment
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