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Ofcom Code on Sports and Other Listed and Designated Events

The Ofcom Code on Sports and Other Listed & Designated Events is a series of regulations issued originally by the Independent Television Commission (ITC) then by Ofcom when the latter assumed most of the ITC's responsibilities in 2003, which is designed to protect the availability of live coverage of so-called "listed events" in sport—typically major sporting occasions—on free-to-air terrestrial television in the United Kingdom.

In 1991, the Home Secretary, Kenneth Baker, devised a list of events not permitted to be broadcast solely on pay-per-view (PPV) services. The practice was placed on a statutory footing by the Broadcasting Act 1996, which required the ITC to create a permanent list of such events, dubbed the "crown jewels of sport".[1] In 1997, the initial list was drawn up, and was revised in 1999, where the code was divided into two categories, A and B. The code was further amended in 2000 to give the ITC responsibility over UK-based broadcasters wanting to transmit listed events in other countries.

In July 2000, a British-based broadcaster, TV Danmark, challenged the ITC's decision to deny it the rights to five Danish World Cup qualifiers. After having the decision overturned on appeal, the ITC appealed to the House of Lords. The Lords found in favour of the ITC, and the decision was upheld.

Contents

Category AEdit

Category A events are events which must have live coverage made available to free-to-air channels, although PPV networks may share live coverage. As of 2000, these events are:[2]

Association football:

Horse racing:

Rugby league:

Rugby union:

Tennis:

Multi-sport events:

Category BEdit

Category B events can be shown on pay television, provided sufficient secondary coverage (highlights, delayed broadcast, etc.) is made to free-to-air broadcasters. As of 2000, the events covered by this category are:[2]

Athletics:

Cricket:

Golf:

Rugby union:

Tennis:

  • Wimbledon Championships (excluding the finals)

Multi-sport events:

Home Test matchesEdit

The England cricket team's home Test matches were originally a Category A event. However, the England and Wales Cricket Board negotiated for it to be transferred to Category B and subsequently, and controversially, sold exclusive live broadcast rights for the 2006–09 home cricket seasons to Sky Sports.

BBC proposalEdit

The BBC unveiled a proposed reordering of the list on 30 July 2009. Most notably, it would create a new category for events that would have to be aired live in their entirety on a free-to-air channel.[3]

List A1Edit

Events that would have to be aired live in their entirety on a free-to-air channel:

Association football:

  • FIFA World Cup finals (all matches)
  • UEFA European Football Championship

Multi-sport events:

  • Summer and Winter Olympic Games

List A2Edit

These events, generally seen as only important to one Home Nation, would have to be aired live in their entirety on a free-to-air channel in that nation only:

Association football:

  • FA Cup final (in England)
  • Scottish Cup final (in Scotland)
  • FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Football Championship qualifiers (in the respective nation)

Rugby union:

  • Wales Six Nations and internationals (in Wales)

Multi-sport events:

  • Commonwealth Games (in the respective nation)

List A3Edit

This list's definition is identical to the current Category A. Free-to-air channels must air coverage, but it can be shared by subscription channels:

Cricket:

Horse racing:

  • Grand National
  • Epsom Derby

Rugby league:

  • Challenge Cup final

Rugby union:

  • Rugby World Cup final

Tennis:

  • Wimbledon Championships men's and women's finals

List BEdit

These events may be shown on a subscription channel if highlights are made available to a free-to-air channel.

Cricket

  • World Cup (highlights of all games must be made available to the free channel)
  • ICC World Twenty20
  • England home Test matches

Golf:

  • The Open
  • Ryder Cup

Rugby union:

  • World Cup
  • Six Nations Championship (highlights of all games must be made available to the free channel)
  • British and Irish Lions tours

Tennis:

  • Wimbledon Championships

Women's sports:

Proposed revisionEdit

On 13 November 2009 a review panel proposed the following revised list and that the Category B list be scrapped. Under these proposals the Epsom Derby, Winter Olympics and Challenge Cup final would be removed from the list.[4]

Listed eventsEdit

These events would have to be shown live in their entirety on UK-wide, free-to-air television, unless it is otherwise noted:

Association football:

  • FIFA World Cup finals
  • UEFA European Football Championship finals
  • FA Cup final (except Scotland)
  • Scottish Cup final (Scotland only)
  • All qualifiers for both the FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship (matches involving the Home Nations are protected only in the countries that are participating)

Golf:

  • The Open

Horse racing:

  • Grand National

Rugby union:

  • World Cup
  • Six Nations Championship (only in Wales, and only for Wales matches)

Tennis:

  • Wimbledon Championships

Multi-sport events:

  • Summer Olympic Games

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Morri s, Alfred (15 February 1996). "Broadcasting". Hanard. HC Deb vol 271 c1212. Retrieved 1 December 2017. the "Crown jewels" of British sport, as they have become known.; Scott-Elliot, Robin (13 November 2009). "The Big Question: What are the crown jewels of sport and why is there a row over them?". The Independent. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Code on Sports and Other Listed and Designated Events" (PDF). Ofcom. March 2008. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2011-01-25.
  3. ^ "BBC proposes free-to-air increase". BBC News Online. 30 July 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-07-30.
  4. ^ "David Davies publishes his review of free-to-air listed events". Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 13 November 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-11-16.