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Six Nations must remain accessible to all

March 11, 2020 8:21 PM
By Rugby Lib Dems

Rugby StadiumThe Liberal Democrats have called for the Six Nations to remain on free-to-air TV as speculation mounts Sky will win the rights to show the tournament beyond 2021.

Liberal Democrat Scottish affairs, Welsh affairs and Northern Irish affairs spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain MP has appealed to the UK Government to add the Six Nations to it's 'A list' of sporting events that must be available live on free-to-air TV.

Rules stipulate that the BBC and ITV are unable to jointly bid for the rights, which is how they hold the current rights.

Wendy Chamberlain said:

"The Six Nations is an annual highlight for millions of loyal fans across the UK. The games have been on free-to-air channels for twenty years and it would be absolutely outrageous to restrict them to those who can afford an additional TV package.

"If we want to keep young people engaged in sport and encourage them to take it up, televised games should be accessible to all.

"The Liberal Democrats are calling on Six Nations organisers to ensure the tournament remains free to watch and for the rules to be relaxed so BBC and ITV can once again jointly bid for the right to broadcast it.

"The chance to view our treasured tournaments shouldn't be threatened on a rolling basis. The UK Government should put an end to this reoccurring issue by adding the Six Nations to the list of sporting events that must always be free-to-watch live."

The Six Nations tender document ruled out a joint bid, the format which had previously allowed the BBC and ITV to pool their funds in order to keep the competition on free-to-air TV.

At present the rugby league challenge cup and the rugby union World Cup final are Category A events which must be made available to free-to-air channels.