FA against listed recommendation

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Football News

The Football Association have opposed recommendations that England's home and away international qualifiers become listed events and reserved for free-to-air television.

The proposal was made in a review headed by former FA executive director David Davies, which also recommended a return to the list for The Open golf championship, the Wimbledon tennis tournament and the Rugby World Cup. Three events were offered up for delisting, with the Epsom Derby, rugby league's Challenge Cup final and the Winter Olympics those now vulnerable.

The FA insist they are best placed to judge the balance between getting the best price for television rights and ensuring maximum coverage.

An FA spokesman said: "The FA has always sought to balance its commitment to secure maximum coverage of the sport for the viewing public with the need to attain a fair commercial value for its rights to help ensure that we are able to continue to fund critical investment into grassroots football.

"To meet both these commitments we believe, as an organisation, we are best placed to determine how our broadcast rights should be sold.

"The FA will engage fully with the Secretary of State's consultation as it considers the implications of the panel's recommendations on the ability of sport to continue to invest in its grassroots."

The Jockey Club, which had branded the list "an anachronism", took issue with the review's view that the Epsom Derby is no longer an "event of special national resonance".

Simon Bazalgette, group chief executive of the Jockey Club, said: "It is clear to us that the Investec Derby remains an event of national resonance, no matter what the Panel says.

"It has higher TV audiences than many other sports events and has probably the highest one-day attendance of any British sports event."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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