Emma McClarkin MEP welcomes legal advice backing free World Cup broadcasts

Free broadcasting of the World Cup and European Championships finals by BBC and ITV looks set to be preserved after the European Court of Justice today received key legal advice.

East Midlands Conservative MEP Emma McClarkin has welcomed the advice, from the ECJ´s Advocate General, which backs the British government’s decision to place the two showpiece football tournaments on a “protected” list of sporting events.

Organisers FIFA and UEFA had appealed to the court for a ruling on the legality of the UK’s stance of insisting that all the matches of both finals tournaments should be available on free-to-air channels and could not be sold exclusively to pay channels.

Emma McClarkin, Conservative spokesman on sport and culture in the European Parliament, welcomed the advice as “good news for fans and good news for the profile of the game”.

An EU directive on television broadcasting allows member states to prohibit the exclusive broadcasting of events which they deem to be of major importance for society, where such exclusive broadcasting would deprive a substantial proportion of the public of the possibility of following those events on free-to-air television.

FIFA and UEFA have argued that the tournaments were key sources of revenue and that not all the matches could constitute events of major national importance to the UK. However, today’s advice says the listing complies with EU law.

Miss McClarkin said:

“Of course these are events of national importance in Britain. You only need to glance at our newspapers during a major tournament to realise that – or look at all the flags flying from people’s windows and cars.

“These events bring the country together. People get wrapped up in the whole tournament, including many who may not usually watch sport and who do not have paid-for cable channels. They fill in their wall-charts, they take part in the office sweepstake and they watch all the matches.

“For lots of people this is a huge part of being British. The European Court of Justice almost always follows the advice of the Advocate General, so I sincerely hope that the same happens this time.”

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Email

© Copyright Emma McClarkin
Menu Title