Parliamentary Rugby League Group Calls For Historic Meeting

15th December 2011

With the fast-approaching deadline for responses to the BBC’s consultations on cuts to local radio services – which have devastating impact on sports coverage – the Parliamentary Rugby League Group have arranged an historic meeting of all sports Groups in Parliament to come together to challenge both the BBC’s approach and the proposals they suggest.

Calling for the meeting, Rugby League Group Chairman, Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland wrote to all the Sports Groups last week and a meeting is scheduled for 13th December in the Palace of Westminster.  On announcing the meeting, he said “if these cuts go ahead, they will have a devastating impact on sports output and for a sport like rugby league, which is regarded as one of the most community-focussed in the UK, it would have even great significance.  It is for that reason that the Group has asked all the other Sports Groups to come together to challenge the proposals.”

The BBC’s proposals include:

• The loss of local programmes on weekday afternoons, with programmes being shared with neighbouring stations;

• The loss of all local programming between 7pm and 10pm. This means the end of any sports magazine shows, in-depth discussion about sport and the opportunity to have opinions heard, engage with clubs, officials and others involved in the game;

• Significant loss of live commentary as there will be a massive reduction in the number of games covered and with the reduction in the number of commentators at games that are broadcast any local flavour disappears;

• The loss of all local programming between 1am until the start of the breakfast show. All stations would broadcast Radio 5 Live;

• The loss of a wide number of locally-split breakfast programmes; and

• Huge costs to any local station that wants to offer live coverage of more than one game matches of any sport as stations will be charged to use the medium wave.

The Parliamentary Group will be providing its own response to the consultations and anyone interested in sports coverage can do the same.  Fans of the sport should visit www.therfl.co.uk/localradioreview to download draft answers to the online consultations.  Details of both consultations can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/consult/local_radio.shtml.


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