Friday, November 13, 2009


Free to Air Sports Poses Critical Dilemma

So the independent review body has reecommended that the Ashes cricket series and other sports be made free to air, rather than remain the preserve of Sky Sports, accessible only to those who can afford the subscriptions. Owen Gibson today gives the details of how Sky will be stripped of its broadcasting monopoly, possibly as a tit for tat regarding The Sun's change of party allegiance.

However, such a move, if the advice is taken will cause much consternation:

The England and Wales Cricket Board has claimed plans to add Ashes cricket, home and away international football qualifiers, Wimbledon and Open golf to the list of events reserved for live broadcast on free-to-air TV will have a "disastrous impact" on grassroots funding for every sport.

Cricket coaches have complained the loss of the Sky deal will lose the game £75m in funding and will lead to scores of staff being sacked. The county game is all but moribund, as anyone who has visited one will testify; it is only the lifeblood of Sky cash which is keeping the game breathing. It's a nice dilemma. Most viewers would love to see international cricket, rugby and soccer free to air, yet most administrators in these sports will shed anguished tears about the viability of their sports without those huge dollops of Sky money.

So who should be heeded: the masses of sports lovers or those who run them? One argument is that free to air will inspire so many youngsters to play the sports their respective futures will be assured. On the other hand, loss of fundsing might mean futuree stars might mature to find the infrastructures of these sports have melted away in the meantime, leaving no clubs for them to join and pursue a sporting career. As a hopeless sports addict, I hope some compromise solution can be found.

[Don't you think the Ashes urn is such a pathetically small trophy to brandish and brag around? Compared with, say the Rugby League Challenge Cup it's a joke but that's whny cricket, with its quirky eccentricities is such an enduringly addictive past-time to some of us I suppose]

Sports is now a money making game, people who retire from playing cricket can carry on by coaching in the community, of course the grass root coaches like myself we just carry on doing it for free. SO lets be honest this is about paying the top boys extra money paying for more over sea's professional and yes giving the top boys a decent wage rise.

because I've been coaching for a life time and I get paid sod all.
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