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UK ‘Crown Jewels’ Sporting Events to be further protected by law

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw As an update to my post of 18 January, 2017, it has been announced on 20 February, 2017 that the UK Government will introduce legislation to further protect the UK’s so-called ‘Crown Jewels’ of  listed sporting events that are required by law to be shown on ‘free-to-air’ television. Under the Digital Economy Bill, the Government will be given the power to amend the qualifying criteria applicable to such listed events even though more people are watching sports events on line rather than on television. Currently, for top sporting events to qualify for protection, the events must be shown on ‘free-to-air’ television channels that are available to 95% of the population. According to the UK Culture Media and Sport Secretary of State, Karen Bradley, the new legislation will “future-proof these regulations so that in an ever-changing digital landscape the public will still have access to the crown jewels of sport on free-to-air channels.” It appears that the Government has no intention - at least, for the time being - of amending the current list of sporting events, which include the English FA Cup and the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. This change in the law is expected to be welcomed by the general sporting public. Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw International Sports Lawyer

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