Call for national vote on sporting crown jewels

By Matt Eley Matt

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Rugby league Wembley stadium Nick bish

Trade leader Nick Bish has welcomed a report into the 'crown jewels' of British sport but said he would like the public quizzed on what should be...

Trade leader Nick Bish has welcomed a report into the 'crown jewels' of British sport but said he would like the public quizzed on what should be screened on free-to-air television.

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) chief executive was speaking after the publication of a government commissioned report that recommended that home Ashes Test matches and home international football tournament qualifiers should be screened on terrestrial TV.

He said: "I would like to see the Department for Culture Media and Sport run a national ballot to see which events the public would most like to see on free-to-air.

"For me any time the national side plays any sport it should be free to air and that seems like a good starting point."

The ALMR has been a critic of Sky's pricing policy and last year cancelled the broadcaster's membership on the basis that it is "no longer compatible with the commercial interests of its operator members."

However, Bish said he could understand that pubs that have paid for Sky would be concerned about people staying at home or by competition from other pubs that previously did not show sport if many events went free-to-air.

"I think it's probably right to examine the 'golden games' and a good test will be whether the national side are playing but I understand the commercial side," he said.

The report, which was compiled by former Football Association executive director David Davies, also said the Rugby Union World Cup tournament and Open Golf championship should remain on the list but that the Derby and the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final dropped off.

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