Cheaper to Watch Football, but What About Cricket?

Labour Party

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently made a ruling on broadcasting rights for sporting events that could have serious effects on minority sports across Europe, including cricket. 

At the moment broadcasting rights for sport in Europe are sold on a ‘territorial’ (country by country) basis.  They are also sold on an ‘exclusive’ basis, which means that only one broadcaster in each country is allowed to broadcast the event.  Understandably the rights are sold at different prices in each territory since, for instance, Greek broadcasters are unlikely to pay as much for English football as British ones.  The system works using ‘decoder cards’ which, once a subscription is paid to your territories service provider, allows you to access their channels through a satellite dish.

What has happened in this instance is that a British publican has used a Greek ‘decoder card’ to access Premier League games for far less than they would have to pay for subscription to a British provider.  The Premier League has brought a case against them as they believe that this infringes their right to sell their product on a country by country basis.  The ECJ has ruled that this ‘territorial exclusivity’ goes against the principles of the European Single Market and that decoder cards can be legally traded across member state boundaries.  So the victory goes to the pub owner.

Now you are unlikely to hear me standing up for the rights of the megalithic Premier League or BSkyB, they are big enough and tough enough to do that for themselves.  I’m also uncomfortable with the notion of such a big organisation with limitless resources suing an independent pub owner.  Having said that, this ruling, in my opinion, does no one any good at all. 

It would mean less money for all sports who sell their broadcasting rights. If there are no ‘exclusive’ rights, then broadcasters would pay far less money.  It would mean a significant loss of cultural diversity, if there are no ‘territorial’ restrictions then you could have a ‘one-size fits all’ European system. Big sports could still sell on a big ‘European’ system (football is popular everywhere). But smaller sports such as ski-jumping, cricket, curling, or cycling, would not be able to make enough money from selling to the whole of Europe.  Smaller broadcasters would not be able to afford the cost of ‘European’ rights. They would not be able to compete, which would mean a monopolistic advantage for the biggest broadcasters in Europe.

So we could see cricket losing a lot its money, similarly handball in France and the Scandinavian countries.  This would be bad for sport and bad cultural diversity.

UKIP Principles

Labour Party

Thank you for all the very kind messages whilst I have been suffering from shingles.

My laptop and ipad have meant I’ve been able to catch up on emails and paperwork, even when, as prescribed by my doctor I have been “resting”. Cue Daily Express headlines “MEP asleep on the job” – no doubt! The largest amount of casework I’ve received this year has been to sign  European Written Declaration 81, which urges the European Parliament to pass legislation making it mandatory for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) to be fitted with technology that eliminates the driver’s “blind spot”.

I signed it several weeks ago and I’m pleased several hundred people have written to me on this subject, and appreciate the friendly correspondence from many Londoners. This should be a cross party issue where health and safety is put first. My Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Green colleagues have all joined with me. However, UKIP MEP Gerard Batten has “principles”. He has refused to join with this initiative to reduce cycling fatalities. His “principles” mean he does not want to support this measure to reduce the number of cyclists dying in London.

Cycling blogger “That Guy Hex” (pictured) questions whether they are appropriate here. He summarises:

“The UKIP. Always ready to do nothing in the name of “principle”. Even if doing something could contribute to preventing people from having entirely preventable and worthless deaths.”

Cycling for the Planet – Cycling to Brighton

Labour Party

8132_255794045229_618955229_8899409_1291127_n[1]On Saturday I will be taking the train to Labour Party Conference at Brighton.

Michael Situ has told me about the energetic way he and several other fellow Southwark Labour Party cyclists will be making the same  journey. They want to raise awareness and encourage people to use greener modes of transport such as cycling wherever possible. He is raising funds for party campaigning particularly leading up to the  London council election next year. Michael is pictured extracting a contribution from Ed Miliband recently. 

The team will be leaving Camberwell Green early in the morning, aiming to arrive in Brighton in late afternoon time with stops for lunch and refreshments on the way. The route approximates to the official London – Brighton ride,  avoiding the busiest main roads. Apart from getting up Ditching Beacon towards the end, it promises to be an enjoyable challenge. 


Harriet Harman as the Camberwell and Peckham MP is pictured with Mark Williams, Alison McGovern, Charlotte Montague and Michael Situ.

Spaces are still available, and if you would like to join the ride please call Michael on 07789775760. My best wishes to every rider and I hope they get good weather!