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November 14, 2009

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UK urged to keep top events for free TV

AN independent panel urged the British government yesterday to reserve several high profile sports events, including England's home Ashes tests, for free-to-air TV despite opposition from sporting bodies and Rupert Murdoch.

The government-appointed panel said the tests against Australia, Open golf and international soccer qualifiers should be added to an existing list of protected events reserved for free-to-air.

The "A-list" of events already includes the summer Olympics, the World Cup, the FA Cup and others, barring them from being shown on subscription channels, such as Murdoch's BSkyB.

The plan, up for a 12-week consultation, has already drawn flak from sporting bodies which say they will receive less investment.

David Davies, who led the review, said his plan put the public first. "The panel's task was to look beyond the interests of any one sport, and assess the events that really matter to society in the modern age," he said.


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