BBC calls for the review of ‘The Crown Jewels’ listed sporting events in the UK

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

David Clementi, the new chairman of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the UK public-service broadcaster, has called for a review of the so-called ‘crown jewels’ list of sporting and other events, which are reserved for ‘free-to-air’ television transmission in the UK, pursuant to the provisions of the EU ‘Television without Frontiers’ Directive (89/552/EEC as amended by 97/36/EEC and 2007/65/EC).

This is a surprise development, as the former Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, John Whittingdale, announced in May 2016 that the UK Government did not have any plans to change the ‘crown jewels’ list as far as sport is concerned, by adding any new sporting events or removing any existing ones

Currently on this list are the Olympic Games; the FIFA World Cup; the English FA Cup Knock-Out Competitions; the ‘Grand National’ Horse Race; and the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament.

It will be interesting to see what changes Clementi has in mind and whether the UK Government will agree to any of them, after public consultation.

This list is a highly political and controversial affair, and the current one was last re-confirmed by the sports bodies concerned in October 2016.

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw is an International Sports Lawyer, Academic, Author and Member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ian.blackshaw@orange.fr’.