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Last Updated: Friday, 25 February, 2005, 09:34 GMT
BSkyB England Test deal approved
The ECB's decision will cause controversy
1938-1998: Exclusive coverage on BBC
1999-2001: Joint deal between Channel 4 and BSkyB worth 103m
2002-2005: Channel 4 and BSkyB deal extended for 150m
2006-2009: Exclusive live coverage on Sky; daily highlights on Five
BSkyB's four-year contract to cover England's home Test matches live from 2006 has been given the go-ahead.

The deal was struck with the England and Wales Cricket Board in December but was delayed after complaints to Ofcom.

But the broadcasting regulator says objections about a lack of live Tests on terrestrial TV are a matter for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Because DCMS put cricket on the Group B list of sports, only highlights or delayed coverage are protected.

A statement on the Ofcom website said "several individuals" had complained about the fact that live coverage will no longer be available to free-to-air terrestrial television.

Channel 4 has screened England's home Test matches since 1999, when it ended the BBC's 61-year tenure, but it will now be replaced by Five as as cricket's sole terrestrial broadcaster.

As part of the new deal, highlights of each day's play in the Tests will be screened on Five from 7.15-8.00pm.

BSkyB's package also covers one-day, Twenty20 and women's internationals, as well as county cricket.

The BBC has retained the exclusive rights for radio coverage of home Tests and one-day internationals.

It will also have non-exclusive rights to cover the C&G Trophy and Twenty20 Cup - the latter shared with the Wireless Group, which owns Talksport Radio.

  • Test series covered by the new contract:
  • 2006 v Sri Lanka and Pakistan
  • 2007 v West Indies and India
  • 2008 v Zimbabwe and South Africa
  • 2009 v New Zealand and Australia



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