Sports minister Nigel Huddleston plans to add the FIFA Women’s World Cup and Women’s European Championship to the listed events regime.
The Broadcasting Act 1996 allows the secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to name sporting events as “listed events”. The events’ broadcast rights must be offered to the main free-to-air terrestrial broadcasters on “fair and reasonable” terms.
This allows a balance to be maintained between keeping free-to-air sports events for the public and letting rights holders negotiate agreements.
Huddleston has written to sports governing bodies and broadcasters to add women’s sporting events to the list and is satisfied that the Women’s World Cup and Women’s Euros fulfil the criteria of having a “special national resonance”.
Sports governing bodies and broadcasters will have three weeks to consider their position.
Huddleston announced the move at a parliamentary debate on women’s football this afternoon.
After the debate, he said: “We remain absolutely committed to supporting women’s sport at every opportunity, including raising its visibility in the media, which can help improve accessibility and participation.
“As England prepares to host Euro 2022 this summer, the addition of the Women’s Euros and World Cup would be a fantastic long-term boost for the game.”
A total of 28.1 million people across the UK tuned in to watch the BBC’s coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019, including 11.7 million people watching England’s defeat to the United States in the semi-final.
England will host UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 from July 6-31. Australia and New Zealand will host the next FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023.
How is the list of events formed?
The list is split into two groups.
Full live coverage of group A events must be offered to the free-to-air channels that are received by at least 95% of the UK population. Those channels are: BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
Live coverage of group B events may be on subscription television as long as highlights are offered to free-to-air broadcasters.
The government announced it would add the summer and winter Paralympic Games as a group A listed event two years ago to give them equal status to the Olympic Games.
Which events are on the list?
Group A (Full Live Coverage Protected)
- The Olympic Games
- The Paralympic 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 Wimbledon Tennis Finals
- The Rugby World Cup Final
- The Derby
- The Rugby League Challenge 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 Tournament
- Six Nations Rugby Tournament 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
(Photo: Lynne Cameron – The FA/The FA via Getty Images)