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ECB hails deferral on TV decision

David Cameron & Hugh Roberston

Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson, on Prime Minister David Cameron's right, made the announcement today

The ECB has welcomed the Government announcement to defer a decision on free-to-air listed events until 2013.

Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson announced today that the decision to review the free-to-air list of sports events has been deferred until the end of the digital switchover process in 2012.

Robertson said: “I fully support the principle of protecting major sports events for free to air coverage.

"But with digital switchover concluding in 2012, this will result in the widespread availability of a significantly increased number of television channels, many of which will be free to air.

"Add to this the BBC’s strategy review, which will cover sports rights, and the Ofcom pay TV review, the broadcasting context for this decision is increasingly unclear.

“The current economic climate also points to us not making a decision at this time which could adversely impact on sport at the grassroots.

"I have therefore decided to defer any review until 2013, when we will look at this again.”

ECB chief executive David Collier said: "ECB welcomes the Government's thorough assessment of the facts and their subsequent decision which recognises the substantial investment cricket has been able to make in our sport's grassroots as a result of increased broadcasting income.

"This decision will empower the ECB to continue with our investment programme into grassroots facilities and coaching as set out in our strategic plan grounds to play."

The announcement means the current list, drawn up in 1998, will remain in force.

This list is as follows:

Group A (Full Live Coverage Protected)

The Olympic 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