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Listed TV Events review panel named- 22 Jan 2009 00:00:00

The panel of experts appointed to review the government’s Listed Events ruling, which ensures certain sporting events are reserved for free-to-air television, has been named.

The review panel, which will be headed by former Football Association chief executive David Davies, will comprise of Olympic hurdler Colin Jackson, former Test cricketer Angus Fraser as well as TV presenters Eamonn Holmes and Dougie Donnelly.

The panel will also include England women's football coach Hope Powell, journalist Nick Pollard and Professor Chris Gratton, of the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University.

Completing the line-up are businesswoman Penny Hughes and investment banker Michael Pescod.

The line-up will look to review the relevance of the Listed Events ruling which has not been changed for a number of years when the government added certain events to a list of sporting crown jewels - or A list – which were deemed too important to be restricted to people with satellite or cable television.

The list includes the Olympic Games, Wimbledon, Grand National, the football World Cup and European Championship finals, the Rugby League Challenge Cup final and the Rugby Union World Cup final.

The last amendment to the list made in 1998 saw domestic Test cricket was relegated to the B list, allowing subscription broadcasters to bid for the right to screen matches, provided there were satisfactory arrangements in place for a terrestrial broadcaster to show highlights.

Cricket’s Ashes Series, the rugby Six Nations and Ryder Cup golf are also not currently guaranteed as free-to-air.

The review will cover three main areas: the principle of having a list; its content; and the criteria determining which events may be listed. It will seek opinions from broadcasters, rights holders and the public, and is expected to be completed some time in the second half of 2009.

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, who announced the review in September last year, said it is vital the list ‘moves with the times and people's tastes’.

The validity of the ruling itself could well be under threat with the number of digital homes in the UK rising to over 80% and digital switchover planned to begin in 2010.

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