ECB welcomes TV consultation
The England and Wales Cricket Board welcomes today's decision by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to begin a period of thorough consultation following last month's publication of an advisory report on the coverage of sports events on free-to-air television.
The ECB is extremely pleased that the Secretary of State Ben Bradshaw remains “open-minded about his final decisions” and that he has “not reached any concluded views” on what the ECB views as poorly researched and incomplete report submitted by the advisory panel.
The ECB is also encouraged that the Secretary of State recognises the complex nature of this issue and that he should take into consideration not only the financial impact on a sport but also the impact on its plans for strategic development.
We would be happy to offer any input requested by the Secretary of State as he conducts the consultation.
The ECB will now begin compiling detailed evidence and commissioning research so that we can thoroughly address all of the issues raised by the Secretary of State.
The ECB will look to meet with the Secretary of State and all broadcasters so that we can discuss with them how the future of our sport would look under different listing requirements.
We would also like to hear from them on the financial contribution they believe they can realistically offer our sport in these uncertain economic times.
Both the Secretary of State and Minister of Sport Gerry Sutcliffe are big supporters of our grassroots programmes and the recent success our investment in women's cricket has had on the international stage.
In the coming weeks we will set out to them the hugely detrimental impact the panel's recommendations would have on our successful community projects as well as the potential impact on international cricket, the England teams and the county game.
We also request that the Secertary of State pays careful attention to the evidence put forward by the BBC, which has been published in recent days.
The BBC did not make a case for the Ashes to be listed in their evidence and have always been consistent in stressing the unique problems they face in scheduling our sport.
This has led to the BBC feeling unable to bid for cricket's television rights since 1998 and they have always indicated that they might struggle to make an offer which wouldn't have a detrimental effect on the funding of the sport.
They have also given evidence that they don't believe they are under an obligation to screen listed events.
The ECB was disappointed that the advisory panel ignored our practical suggestion that the B list was further enhanced as it would have continued to ensure that highlights of all Test matches are shown in peak family-friendly viewing time, and the ECB hopes that the Secretary of State will consider strengthening rather than accepting the advisory panel suggestion of scrapping the B list.
We take encouragement from the Secretary of State's suggestion that it may be in the public interest for particular events of major importance to be listed on the basis of highlights alone.
The ECB will wish to explain why this is a more effective and proportionate proposal for viewers, broadcasters and the sport alike.
We trust that the Government will ensure that the consultation is allowed to explore the potential long-term sporting, financial and organisational impact not only on cricket but also all the many other sports who have registered their huge disappointment at both the processes and the findings of the Davies panel.