UK's Labour wants more listed events diversity including women's sport and Paralympics
The UK’s opposition Labour party wants to review the country’s ‘listed events’ – those events that cannot be broadcast exclusively live on pay-TV – to include more women’s sports events, such as the Fifa Women’s World Cup presently under way in France, and the Paralympic Games.
The move comes after the BBC, the UK public service broadcaster, broke a viewing record last weekend as a peak audience of 6.1 million (a 37.8-per-cent share) tuned in for England’s opening Women’s World Cup match against Scotland on the main BBC One channel.
According to the BBC, England’s 2-1 win over their UK rivals was the most-watched women’s soccer match in the UK of all time.
The BBC's average audience was 4.6 million for the match.
In a speech to the British Screen Advisory Council, Tom Watson, shadow culture secretary, said that “crown jewel events,” such as the Women’s World Cup Final and the Paralympics, deserve equal “status” and “recognition” with other sporting events included on the list.
He said: “The current list is out of date and it’s government’s job to make sure that the list of key events showcases all the best of British talent, right across our society.
“The huge viewing figures for the England Scotland game show how popular women’s sport is and why it’s so important to keep these key events free to air.
“Events like the Women’s World Cup and the Paralympics are crown jewel sporting events. It is time we give them the status, recognition, and protection they deserve.”
The existing listed events have not been updated since 1998 and the government said last year that it has no plans to review it.
The list comprises two groups of events: Group A (those for which full live coverage must be offered to free-to-air broadcasters); and Group B (those for which live coverage can appear on subscription television, provided that secondary coverage is offered to free-to-air broadcasters.
Group A: full live coverage protected
• The Olympic Games
• The Fifa World Cup Finals Tournament
• The European Football Championship Finals Tournament
• The FA Cup Final
• The Scottish FA Cup Final (in Scotland)
• The Grand National
• The Derby
• The Wimbledon Tennis Finals
• The Rugby League Challenge Cup Final
• The Rugby World Cup Final
Group B: secondary coverage protected
• 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 matches involving home countries
• The Commonwealth Games
• The World Athletics Championship
• The Cricket World Cup - the final, semi-finals and matches involving home nations' teams
• The Ryder Cup
• The Open Golf Championship