Friday, January 21, 2011

Free For All?

Continued gnashing of teeth over England's lost bid for the 2018 World Cup. It appears that the English bid wasn't beyond the odd bit of deal making though. Including on the issue of free-to-air sport on TV:

The BBC and ITV were set to join forces to battle a secret government decision that could have handed Sky the chance to air the 2018 World Cup. It has emerged that the government guaranteed to football body Fifa that it was prepared to waive listed events regulations for the 2018 tournament as part of England’s failed bid to host the event. Under current rules, the World Cup is on the Crown Jewels TV sports list, meaning that it can only be shown live on free-to-air television. However, at the request of Fifa, England’s 2018 World Cup bid document contained a promise to allow pay-TV companies, such as BSkyB and Disney-owned ESPN, the chance to bid for rights. Neither the BBC nor ITV – which traditionally share coverage of the World Cup – were aware of the guarantee at the time of England’s bid.

Seems it wouldn't have extended to the whole tournament. But it does show that for all the moaning and outrage that followed Fifa's decision the English bid team and the government were not completely naive about how these things work.

And they were prepared to dilute one of the country's great sporting shared experiences to get their way.

You can find an interesting analysis of all this on Twohundredpercent.

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