MEPs to debate future of major sports events

The TV sports debate has moved to Brussels, where MEPs are to debate whether major sports events like the Olympics should remain on mainstream, non-subscription TV.

The European Parliament’s committee on culture and the media is to put an oral question to the European Commission at the parliament’s March plenary session, it has emerged.

EC commissioners will be asked what they intend to do to stop pay-TV stations gaining exclusive broadcasting rights for major sport fixtures.

Culture committee members have already expressed alarm at News Corporation’s high bid for the exclusive rights to broadcast the winter and summer Olympics from 2000 to 2008.

They expressed relief when the European Broadcasting Union – comprising public service broadcasters – reached an agreement with the International Olympic Committee to guarantee free public access to Olympic TV coverage until 2008.

Rupert Murdoch’s plan to launch a rebel rugby “Super League” has suffered a setback in the Austral ian courts. A judge ruled News

Corporation representatives unfairly induced players to breach existing contracts and join the Murdoch league. UK rugby sources insist the ruling has no impact on this month’s launch of the European Super League.

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