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Key sporting events list to be reviewed
Pic: RollingNews.ie

11 Dec 2020 / sports law Print

Key sporting events list to be reviewed

Members of the public can have their say on which sporting or other events should be available on a free-to-air basis under a consultation process announced by the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin (pictured).

Events that are designated as being of major importance to society are available, as a matter of public interest, on qualifying broadcasters — including RTÉ, Virgin Media and TG4 — on a live or deferred basis.


The current list includes the All-Ireland senior inter-county football and hurling finals, the Republic of Ireland’s qualifying and final matches in football’s World Cup, and European Championships and Ireland’s Rugby World Cup games.

The EU usually requires events to attract 5% of audience share to be designated as being of national importance.

In addition, the event must satisfy at least two of the following four criteria:

  • The event has a special general resonance within a country and not simply of significance to those who ordinarily follow the sport or activity concerned,
  • The event has a generally-recognised, distinct cultural importance for the population, in particular as a catalyst of cultural identity,
  • There is involvement of the national team in the event concerned in the context of a competition or tournament of international importance,
  • The event has traditionally been broadcast on free-to-air television and has commanded large television audiences.

Paywall 'unfair'

“Having events of national importance behind a paywall restricts those who are not in a financial position to subscribe from participating and unfairly excludes those without access through a paywall to the events from engaging with the events on an equivalent basis,” the minister said.

Those interested can express their views on the current list, and on whether any events should be added or removed. The closing date for submissions is 14 January 2021.

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