Page last updated at 13:21 GMT, Thursday, 9 April 2009 14:21 UK

Morgan's TV plea over Six Nations

Eddie Butler commentating at the Millennium Centre
The BBC has the rights to the Six Nations until 2013 but Rhodri Morgan wants the tournament to remain on free to air TV

Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan has urged a UK government department to ensure Six Nations rugby games are always shown live on terrestrial TV.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has A and B lists for the televising of sporting events.

A-list or "crown jewel" events must be shown live on a terrestrial channel, while only the highlights of games on the B-list must be made available.

The Six Nations is B-listed. The BBC has a deal to show games live to 2013.

In a letter, Mr Morgan said it was important that listed events "represent the interests of viewers throughout the UK".

Group A

Olympics
Football World Cup finals
Football's European Championship finals
FA Cup final
The Scottish FA Cup final (in Scotland)
The Grand National
The Derby
Wimbledon
The Rugby League Challenge Cup final
The Rugby World Cup final
Source: Department for Culture, Media and Sport

A-listed events include the Rugby World Cup final, the FA Cup final, the Olympics, the Grand National horse race and the Wimbledon tennis finals.

B-listed events include cricket tests played in England, the Ryder Cup and the Open golf championship.

The DCMS is currently consulting on which major national events should be seen on free-to-air television.

It has appointed former Football Association chief and one-time BBC reporter David Davies and a panel of experts to review the list of events that are protected for free broadcast coverage.

The panel want the public's views on what should be included in the list, which was last revised in 1998.

In his letter to Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, Mr Morgan said he noted there was no event currently in the A-list which reflected the specific interests of viewers in Wales.

Group B
Cricket test matches played in England
Non-finals play in the Wimbledon Tournament
All other matches in the Rugby World Cup finals
Six Nations rugby involving home countries
Commonwealth Games
World Athletics Championship
Cricket World Cup - the final, semi-finals and matches involving home nations' teams
The Ryder Cup
The Open Golf tournament
Source: DCMS

"I would like to encourage the group to consider this issue as part of their wider consideration," he says in the letter.

"As an initial conclusion of what the average Welsh viewer would want the panel to consider, it would be to move the Six Nations tournament from Group B to Group A.

"It is important that the events included in the various groups represent the interests of viewers throughout the UK."

The BBC said the audience share in Wales for this year's Wales-England clash in February was 67%, compared to a 33% audience share in England.

An assembly government spokeswoman said it was working with Mr Davies and his panel to organise a consultation event in Wales in early June on the free-to-air issue.

The DCMS said: "There is currently a review underway and all representations will be considered."


Do you think the Six Nations matches should always be broadcast live on free-to-air channels? Here are some of your comments.

The national team holds a special place in the majority of peoples lives in Wales. I feel that a large proportion of people especially those who are retired and on low incomes would be affected by this proposition and I think it simply should not be allowed.
Jeff , Cardiff

There is no reason why sporting events should be free on TV. Having the 6-Nations games on pay-per-view will increase revenues to the WRFU and ultimately increase the quality of rugby played in Wales.
Wilbur Watson, Bangor, Wales

All Six Nations matches should be on the A list. Can't believe they are on the B list. Six Nations is a massive national event each year.
Nikki, Ynys Môn

I notice Mr Morgan didn't raise the issue of the Wales football matches going to Sky and Setanta. If we had a good team he'd be the first for a 'rent-a-quote' .
Huw Chambers, Aberystwyth

Welsh Cup Final (football) in Wales should be A listed please
Owain, Gogledd Cymru

The Six Nations Competition should definitely be 'A' listed!
Terry Ozbourne, United Kingdom

Mr Morgan is right about the 6 nations being in the A group of sporting events. What he should also look into is next season's home games for Wales.the French game is to be played at 8 pm ,yes in the evening. Have the money grabbers in the Welsh rugby union given any thought to us fans,we can't all be put up in the hotels in Cardiff on expences,how do we get home ? Please Mr Morgan help us.

John Evans
john evans, neath, Wales

i will stop paying my tv license if the six nations are no longer shown on the bbc!
huw, bristol

I am surprised and somewhat disappointed that it is not already classed as an A - Listed event. Is an international game! If the The Grand National The Derby, and Wimbledon are A list there's no excuse for the 6 nations not to be. All Rugby Union World Cup should be as well.
Adey, Conwy

I think in Wales - yes. Rhodri Morgan has a valid argument in there will be different perspectives on Sporting Events in different parts of UK - for example very few in England and Wales would argue that the Scottish FA Cup Final should be screened nationwide whereas it should be in Scotland. So too rugby occupies the top rank in sporting events in Wales and the 6 Nations shuold be available on terrestrial on that basis in Wales.
Andrew Davies, Cardiff

Surely all National team games should be A listed? I think it is dreadful that you have to pay to watch England play on Sky in any sport. It is bad enough that i have to watch my football and rugby club teams at the pub, or more often miss them completely without the same applying to watching my national team. The clubs belong to owners and have to make a profit. The national teams belong to the nation and should be treated as such.
Martin Prosser, Kingston-upon-thames, Surreu

YES! I watch almost every game and would be extremely disappointed if they were not available. Group A please.
H, Farnborough UK

We lost cricket to pay TV, which has damaged the game. Please lets not also lose the 6 Nations. My vote would be for free to air throughout the UK.
jeffrey Tyrrell, Basingstoke Hants

I fully agree with Rhodri Morgan, having moved from England to Wales and the difference when it comes to 6 nations is huge it is a national event in Wales and the whole country almost stops when a match is on, I personally believe that all Home Games should be Live televised on Terrestrial Channels for the countries competing!. Another thing is what is Formula 1 now that it has moved back to the BBC?? Grp A or Grp B?
Jon Hawkins, Aberpandy RFC

I couldn't agree more, I'm shocked to find the Six Nations isn't A list already! I also think all other national side games in the Rugby World Cup should be A list, not just the final!
Rebecca, London



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