Ashes, Open and Champions League final ‘not set for UK ‘crown jewels’ list’

Calls for the UK government to add golf’s Open Championship, the Ashes cricket series and the final of football’s Uefa Champions League to the so-called ‘crown jewels’ list of sporting events have reportedly fallen on deaf ears.

Any events on the list must be offered to free-to-air broadcasters at a fair and reasonable cost. The Times has reported that the government has dismissed proposals to add the Open, the Ashes and the Champions League final to the list, although the Fifa Women’s World Cup and the women’s European Championships are set for inclusion.

The three events had been proposed for inclusion by the House of Lords select committee on digital and communication. The addition of the showpiece women’s football events comes despite opposition from their respective organisers, Fifa and Uefa.

The BBC, which broadcast the 2019 Women’s World Cup, said that 28.1 million people in the UK watched at least 15 minutes of the tournament through linear or digital means.

The Times said that Fifa feels that the Women’s World Cup should be covered by both free-to-air and pay-television broadcasters. Uefa also feels it should have the final say on how it sells rights to the national team tournament.

Earlier this week, the government added the summer and winter Paralympic Games to the ‘crown jewels’ list as a ‘Group A event’, which means live rights must be offered to free-to-air broadcasters at a fair and reasonable cost.

Other Group A events include: the Olympic Games; men’s Fifa World Cup; Uefa European Championships; FA Cup final; Scottish Cup final (in Scotland); Grand National; Derby; Wimbledon finals; Challenge Cup final; and Rugby World Cup final.