Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Thursday, June 25, 1998 Published at 18:05 GMT 19:05 UK


UK

'Crown jewels': cricket out, rugby and football in

Clean bowled? BBC has spent decades at the crease


Media correspondent Nick Higham: "The Government's decision may reflect the fact that football's more popular than cricket."
The government has confirmed that live coverage of cricket Test matches played in England is to be removed from the list of sporting events reserved for terrestrial TV - but that rugby and soccer tournaments will take its place.

The European Football Championship Finals, the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final and the Rugby Union World Cup Final are to be placed on a revised list of "crown jewels" - those events considered too important to be restricted to people with satellite or cable TV.


[ image: Rugby Union: becomes a
Rugby Union: becomes a "crown jewel"
Domestic Test cricket, however, is to be removed from this group, now known as the "A list", and placed on a new "B list".

This category will allow subscription broadcasters to bid for exclusive coverage rights provided there are satisfactory arrangements for secondary coverage by a terrestrial broadcaster.

The BBC has covered Test matches in England for the last 50 years but now looks likely to lose out to satellite television.

New set of guarantees

Making the announcement in a Commons written reply, Culture Secretary Chris Smith said he was determined to ensure that terrestrial broadcasters did get good quality access to secondary coverage even if subscription broadcasters, such as satellite and cable stations, won the primary rights.


[ image: Glenn Hoddle: something to smile about]
Glenn Hoddle: something to smile about
"I have asked the Independent Television Commission to consider setting a minimum acceptable standard for such secondary coverage, to include some combination of delayed full coverage, highlights and live radio commentary," he said.

In addition to the above football and rugby finals which he wants to place on the "A list", Mr Smith said he believed that crucial ties in the football World Cup and European Championship qualifying competitions should also qualify for the highest status.

He said he therefore intended to seek Europe-wide arrangements for protecting free-to-air live broadcasts of crucial matches in these competitions.

The extended protection for football was welcomed by England coach Glenn Hoddle, who expressed his approval for the package.

"I'm delighted when the biggest possible audience sees England's vital matches. Any plans that ensure that happens in the future I welcome," said Mr Hoddle. "I know it is what the fans want. So do I," he added.

From A to B


[ image: Radio: Only free coverage for millions of fans]
Radio: Only free coverage for millions of fans
The division of the "crown jewels" into two categories is in line with the recommendations made in March by the Gordon Committee report on the future of televised sport.

The actual split announced by Mr Smith differs, however, from that put forward by the committee, which included broadcaster and journalist Michael Parkinson and former world champion athlete Steve Cram.

The revised lists are as follows:


[ image:  ]
The "A list":

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

    The "B list":

  • Cricket Tests in England
  • Non-finals play at Wimbledon
  • Rugby Union World Cup Finals tournament apart from the final itself
  • Five Nations Rugby Union matches involving the home countries
  • Commonwealth Games
  • World Athletics Championships
  • Cricket World Cup - the final, semi-finals and matches involving the home countries
  • The Ryder Cup
  • The Open Golf Championship.



    Advanced options | Search tips




    Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


  • UK Contents

    Northern Ireland
    Scotland
    Wales
    England
    Relevant Stories

    14 Apr 98 | Cricket
    Pressure mounts on Father Time

    21 Mar 98 | Cricket
    Cricket boss confident Tests would stay at BBC

    20 Mar 98 | Cricket
    Terrestrial TV could lose home Tests





    Internet Links

    Hansard: MPs debate Gordon Committee


    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




    In this section

    Next steps for peace

    Blairs' surprise over baby

    Bowled over by Lord's

    Beef row 'compromise' under fire

    Hamilton 'would sell mother'

    Industry misses new trains target

    From Sport
    Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

    From Business
    Vodafone takeover battle heats up

    IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

    Thousands celebrate Asian culture

    From Sport
    Christie could get two-year ban

    From Entertainment
    Colleagues remember Compo

    Mother pleads for baby's return

    Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

    From Health
    Nurses role set to expand

    Israeli PM's plane in accident

    More lottery cash for grassroots

    Pro-lifers plan shock launch

    Double killer gets life

    From Health
    Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

    From UK Politics
    Straw on trial over jury reform

    Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

    Ex-spy stays out in the cold

    From UK Politics
    Blair warns Livingstone

    From Health
    Smear equipment `misses cancers'

    From Entertainment
    Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

    Fake bubbly warning

    Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

    From UK Politics
    Germ warfare fiasco revealed

    Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

    Tourists shot by mistake

    A new look for News Online