World Cup and European Championships to remain free-to-air after Uefa and Fifa lose appeals
Football's governing bodies had wanted to be able to sell matches to the highest bidders
Thursday 18 July 2013
All matches at World Cups and European Championships will remain on free-to-air television in the United Kingdom after FIFA and UEFA today lost an appeal at the European Court of Justice.
The governing bodies had challenged Britain's decision that all such games should be regarded as Listed Events meaning that they must be shown on free-to-air channels such as the BBC and ITV.
UEFA and FIFA argued that not all the games in the tournaments "could constitute events of major importance for the general public" and claimed only the final matches of the competitions should be Listed Events.
If that was the case, it is likely the two governing bodies would receive far more from the television rights if other broadcasters such as BSkyB and BT Sport were also bidding.
Belgium also has a similar law regarding World Cup matches, and that was also challenged by FIFA.
But the European Court of Justice dismissed the challenge, ruling: "It is for the member states alone to determine the events which are of major importance and that the Commission's role in that respect is limited to determining whether the member States have complied with European Union law in exercising their discretion.
"The court found, on the basis of the information provided by FIFA and UEFA and in the light of the actual perception of the public in the United Kingdom and Belgium, that all the matches in the final stages of those two tournaments actually attracted sufficient attention from the public to form part of an event of major importance.
"In particular, it is apparent from the file, first, that those tournaments, in their entirety, have always been very popular among the general public and not only viewers who generally follow football matches on television. Second, those competitions have traditionally been broadcast on free television channels in those member states."
Do you qualify – and how do you get it?
The Mayor of London's sister, Rachel Johnson, apologises for shocking tweet about the PM
Actress isn't a fan of Ed Miliband
Video: The official full-length trailer for the Jurassic Park sequel has dropped – two days early
Latest in Sport
Phil Hughes head injury: Cricket world reels as Australian opener fights for his life
Sam Wallace: Players of Suarez’s standing just don’t sign for clubs like Liverpool
Phil Hughes injury: Batsman had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich comment: Frank Lampard's part in City win shows folly of letting him leave
Schalke vs Chelsea: Roberto Di Matteo admits thrashing by former side was most painful defeat of his career
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 3 Black Friday 2014: Opening hours for John Lewis, Asda, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services