MP calls for cricket to be live for everyone!
Rochdale's Lib Dem MP - Paul Rowen is calling for the Government to take steps to keep cricket "live" on every television set in the country. Paul has reacted with fury after it was revealed that the current Ashes Series will be the last live cricket to be shown on terrestrial television till at least 2009 . Paul has given his support to the all party consensus that live cricket needs to remain on terrestrial TV by drafting an Early Day Motion. He is calling for the England and Wales Cricket Board to renegotiate the live rights to ensure everyone can enjoy live cricket.
"The England and Wales Cricket Board awarded a four-year contract to BSkyB to exclusively show the matches live from 2006-2009 in December. The Government have been short sighted on this - they had an ideal opportunity to class Test Matches as a premier event - yet they failed to do so. The ongoing success of the Ashes has been down not just to the fact that it is a nail biting series but also that it was shown live on Channel 4. I fear the momentum and enthusiasm the country presently has for cricket will be wasted unless we take action now!"
Cricket is classified as a Group B event by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. This basically means that any broadcaster can bid for the live rights - Terrestrial Broadcasters are guaranteed at least a highlights package - in this case Channel 5 have secured the rights till 2009 - the only live cricket that anyone can receive will be on BBC Radio.
Paul Rowen said, "I think it is disgraceful that live cricket has again moved to SKY. I know that Channel 4 bid for the rights, again though money talks and SKY clearly outbid them. interest in cricket has rocketed, this Test Series has been a revelation - everyone in Rochdale is talking about it. Membership at cricket clubs throughout Rochdale is at an all-time high and I can't believe that the game is about to disappear onto SKY. Live Cricket should be available to everyone - the ECB claim they made their decision to maintain the sport at a grass roots level is wrong. The way to maintain the sport in this way is to put it clearly in the public domain and it is only by televising it on terrestrial channels that we can do this."
Paul has drafted an Early Day Motion that he hopes MP's from all parties will support when Parliament meets again