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New sports events added to UK protected list

A number of high profile British sports tournaments have been added to the list of events protected for broadcast on free-to-air television.

The Rugby World Cup, Ashes cricket, World Cup and European Championship soccer qualifying games, the Open golf and Wimbledon tennis tournaments have all been added to the list of ‘crown jewel’ events that prevent pay-TV broadcasters from bidding for the rights.

The move is part of an independent review of sports rights headed by former Football Association director David Davies and has been welcomed by culture secretary Ben Bradshaw. However, satellite pay-TV broadcaster Sky has called it disappointing and sports bodies including cricket’s ECB and the British Olympic Association have stated that the decision will have large financial ramifications.

The report will be put out to a 12-week consultation before sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe will make a final decision.