Category Archives: Government

TV sports report sparks backlash



The summer Olympics are one of a number of events which are on the proposed free-to-air events list


By Suhayl Afzal and Myles Edwards

Proposed changes to the list of free-to-air sporting events have triggered widespread criticism.

Sporting associations, journalists and the public have reacted angrily to the recommendations put to the department of culture, media and sport by an independent panel.

The report suggests that all of the home nations’ football qualifiers be made available on free-to-air TV, along with England’s home Ashes Tests making a return to the list. 

The Open golf championship and Wimbledon tennis championship will also be retained. 

Rugby league’s Challenge Cup final and horseracing’s Epson Derby will be removed from the so-called ‘crown-jewels list’, if the recommendations are adopted by culture secretary Ben Bradshaw.

The controversial recommendations have led to Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith voicing his concerns over their potential damaging consequences on the game.

He said: “It seems like a great idea to say your games should be free-to-air.  It sounds like you’re really considering the public, but it would have serious financial repercussions in terms of income that we bring in to the SFA.

“We would have no problem at all provided the free-to-air broadcaster paid the same money as a satellite broadcaster.”

He added: “Maybe the government would make up the shortfall in terms of the deal that we get, in order that we can continue to offer the services we offer to football at grassroots, youth and a professional level.”

England Cricket Board chief Giles Clarke also warned that it could lead to “a decade of decay” for his sport and that the report would have “a disastrous effect on grassroots funding”.

The Independent Advisory Panel was composed of several well known names from the worlds of sports and media, including Colin Jackson, Angus Fraser, Dougie Donnelly and Eamonn Holmes.

The report made no mention of the possibility of terrestrial TV stations bidding the same price as the likes of Sky have done in the past. 

Smith and Clarke are not the only ones who are concerned that this could drastically reduce the funding towards grassroots levels of sport.

Andrew Moir, who has worked as a journalist for Sky and ESPN, said that the recommendations could have both positive and negative consequences.

He said: “It is good from a consumer point of you that all these events will potentially be aired free of charge.  They will be on offer to a far wider audience.

“However, if terrestrial TV stations are able to bid for the events at a smaller price than Sky would have had to, then it could be very damaging to the future of sports. I see no reason why the likes of BBC or ITV couldn’t bid a high amount for the events.”

Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw has 12 weeks to consider the panel’s findings.



Summer Olympic Games
Cricket’s home Ashes Test matches
Wimbledon Championship
Open golf championship
Football: FIFA World Cup finals, UEFA European Championship finals, FA Cup final (England, Wales and Northern Ireland only), Scottish FA Cup (Scotland), home and away football qualifiers for World Cup and European Championship for their specific UK nations
Rugby Union: Rugby World Cup (full tournament), Wales matches in Six Nations (in Wales only)
The Grand National 


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Barack Obama – The first black American President?

By Myles Edwards                  16 May 2007


Barack Obama

“There is not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America – there’s the United States of America”, the words of a Mr Barack Obama.

Is it any wonder why Barack Obama is drawing such widespread multi-cultural support from all across America?

Barack Obama first came to public attention at the Democratic Convention in 2004 where he made one of the most famous speeches in recent American history.  His aim was ‘A United America’, an America which treated each individual citizen with equality.

It is ironic that at the time of his memorable speech, John Kerry was running for President of the US, yet, the then, non-elected Obama’s words were met with a far greater cheer and produced a tidal wave of emotions from the vast audience.

Obama was a breath of fresh air to many American’s who found John Kerry’s “reporting for duty” Presidential campaign based purely on his heroics in Vietnam, rather than inspiring aims of equality and eradication of discrimination, which Obama believes should, and can, become reality.

Having been on the Illinois Senate for 8 years, following his sensational speech in 2004, Barack Obama gained 70 percent of the vote to be elected to the U.S. senate.

Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, 1961.  His Kenyan father left two years later and Barack’s white American mother moved the family to Jakarta, Indonesia.  Barack was educated at a predominantly Muslim school.  At the age of ten the family returned to the U.S.A. – a choice which could possibly change the outlook of America forever.

It is no coincidence that Time magazine chose Barack Obama in their top 100 most influential people in the world list in 2005. 

However, he does not produce the same emotion as he did in 2004.  He now takes on a more relaxed approach.  His explanation for this modification within himself is that he does not want to be seen as “excitable”.  He’d rather be recognised as “exciting”.  He wants to continue proving himself to the US public as unique and not a prototype of previous, easily-excitable black Presidential candidates such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.  Everyone knows he can deliver an inspiring speech but he wants to put his ‘thought process on display’.

The United States of America is dominated by race.  However, does Barack Obama represent hope that race does not matter, that an American can be measured purely upon their achievements and not their ethnicity?

Despite a high level of popularity with African-Americans, there is a growing feeling that Obama is “not black enough”. This is because his ancestors did not experience slavery or segregation. 

 This notion does not reflect what Obama is attempting to achieve, in a ‘United America’ of the future.  These whispers suggest that the approaches adopted by Jackson and Sharpton are more effective in gaining the African-American vote.  Obama is likely to view this only as a challenge.

Nevertheless, certain polls suggest that this ‘United America’ is only just around the corner.  In 1968, 53 percent of voters said they would not vote for a black candidate.  This figure dropped dramatically, to 6 percent in 2003.  Race is becoming so much less of an issue that Obama’s smoking habit is more likely to put Americans off voting for him.

With Hillary Clinton posing tough opposition to Obama’s charge for Presidency, it can be said that the Democrats are pushing the barriers of race, and also gender, which have previously haunted the US so significantly.  Both have a realistic chance of winning the Presidential elections, and a breaking free from the America of past.

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