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Monday, September 05, 2005

It is not cricket

I confess that I watched England's last 20 runs in their final innings of the fourth test through my fingers. It was a very tense moment, and although I knew in my heart that England should win it from that position, it was never a foregone conclusion. I may have less time to watch the fifth test, which starts on Thursday but I will feel obligated to create some space in my diary in the early evening, especially if England look like regaining the Ashes.

What I, and many others, are less happy about is the fact that this week may be the last occasion on which we can watch Test cricket on terrestrial television. Channel 4 has attracted up to eight million viewers during its coverage of the Ashes series, but from next year cricket fans will have to turn to Sky, which won broadcast rights for Test matches in a £220m deal which will run to 2009.

Personally, I think that this is a disgrace and I am pleased to see that Sports Minister, Tessa Jowell is hinting that Test match cricket could be reserved for terrestrial television in the future. My only concern is the vague way in which she phrased this 'hint':

"We have what are called listed events. Those listed events can be reviewed. There is always the possibility of a review, not just in relation to cricket but in relation to other listed events."

This is not so much a commitment as the sort of verbal sleight of hand employed by Ministers when they are backed into a corner. Perhaps she would like to prove my cynicism wrong by announcing a very definite review with a timetable.
Tessa Jowell is not the Sports Minister, she's the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister for Women and Minister fot the Olympic Games.

The Minister of State for Sport is Richard Caborn!!
Cor blimey, Martin, give it a rest or people might start to think that you are a bigger geek than even Peter Black!!!

I think that without the need to split hairs or debate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin (the answer being, of course, a million small ones, or just one fat one), the point stands that the Secretary Jowell has overall responsibility for sport, as well as media, which her comments reported by Peter quite clearly show.

In any case, who would people prefer to see in the running shorts, Richard Caborn or Tessa Jowell. Hmmm....on second thoughts....let's leave that one there!
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