Sport-free BBC shelves Grandstand on Cup final day

Maurice McLeod
Wednesday 17 May 2000 00:00 BST

The BBC has taken the rare step of shelving this Saturday's Grandstand after it failed to secure the rights to any of the weekend's major sporting events.

Saturday sees the FA Cup final and the first of the summer England test matches but the BBC will be showing reats of Allo Allo and the film My Fair Lady instead.

A spokeswoman for BBC Sport said; "Grandstand will not appear on BBC1 because unlike previous years there is no major sporting event available."

BBC director general Gregg Dyke made obtaining sport coverage one of his aims when he took over at the the organisation's helm but this week's failure shows just how much work he has to do to fullfill that pledge.

The Chelsea-Aston Villa Cup final will be shown on ITV and the England-Zimbabwe test match will be shown by Channel 4 but BBC 1 have been left with nothing to show its sports fans.

Grandstand has been running for 42 years and usually only misses a week for a major nation event (like Princess Diana's funeral) or if Christmas or New Year fall on a Saturday.

The spokeswoman explained: " It is not set in stone that Grandstand runs 52 weeks of the year as the programme often does not appear over the Christmas and New Year period."

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