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Golf: BSkyB's Ryder Cup fiasco

BSKYB TELEVISION last night said they were "flabbergasted" after legal proceedings were issued by the European Tour and Ryder Cup Ltd, in a bid to force them to change the channel on which they plan to broadcast the Ryder Cup.

BSkyB have announced that the Ryder Cup will be shown on Sky Box Office - usually reserved for pay-per-view events, but in this case free to subscribers.

The move would prevent subscribers to ONdigital watching the event, as they only get Sky Sports 1 and 3 as part of their package.

Mitchell Platts, a spokesman for Ryder Cup Ltd, said: "It would appear that Sky's principal reason for wishing to omit the Ryder Cup from the Sky Sports channels is to avoid the possibility of its competitor, ONdigital, having the right to show matches.

"We do not believe the Ryder Cup should be used as a pawn in this dispute," Platts added.

"European golf, including the Ryder Cup, has been shown on these channels for the last seven years and that remains the contracted position today. We adamantly believe that this late change of channel has created confusion which will be exacerbated if the Ryder Cup is not reinstated on Sky Sports, and will thereby alienate sections of the viewing public and our sponsors, which is damaging to the Ryder Cup.

"The European Tour and Ryder Cup Ltd fully supports Sky's initiatives to increase the potential viewing audience of the matches, but we insist this should be developed from showing matches on one of the contracted Sky Sports channels where golf is traditionally seen."

BSkyB claims more viewers will be able to watch the Ryder Cup on Sky Box Office than if it were on Sky Sports 1.

A statement from BSkyB read: "We are bemused and flabbergasted that the European Tour and Ryder Cup Ltd should object to our decision to schedule the Ryder Cup as a free event on Sky Box Office.

"The result is that millions more people will be able to see the Ryder Cup than if it were shown on Sky Sports 1.

"The Ryder Cup will be seen by all Sky subscribers at no extra cost and all cable companies have agreed to carry it at no cost to their subscribers."