I suggest a campaign about ...

The Right to Watch Football without Giving Money to the Company behind the NotW Phone Hacking

Premiership football is one of the most popular television attractions in the United Kingdom and yet, for far too long, predominantly available to watch only on Sky. This in itself should have been investigated by the Office of Fair Trading. However, in the light of the appalling actions of News International in relation to the phone hacking scandal, this has now taken on an ethical dimension. As commentators have already noted, Rupert Murdoch has closed the News of the World in a cynical attempt to divest himself of a toxic asset in order to control 100% BSkyB. However, he already owns 39% of the company. Every home that has Sky is giving money to News Corp, the company behind the News of the World phone hacking. Key players Rebekah Brooks and James Murdoch are still in place and, even if the deal doesn’t go through, their media empire, which will just rebrand the News of the World as The Sun on Sunday, will continue to be supported by the money of sports fans who still want to watch their favourite events.

This situation is intolerable. We demand an urgent review of sports rights in the UK by the OFT and any other relevant body, with the aim of opening up sports rights to the BBC and non-Murdoch terrestrial channels in time for the 2011/12 Premiership. Football fans should not have to choose between taking an ethical stance and watching the nation's favourite sport.

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      • Anonymous commented  · 

        Personally other than major international events like the Olympics, or perhaps some of the World and European events I would like to see all sport confined to its own channel(s). Whether or not they are pay for view is immaterial to me.

        People who are regular viewers of normally scheduled programmes often have their viewing interupted by something as trivial as a sporting event I think this is an imposition and clearlk wrong.

        I am not complaining for myself the littel television I do watch is provided for me by channels which do not interupt their regular schedules to show programmes that are of interest to a minority (percentage wise)M of the viewing public.

      • James Murdoch's empty soul commented  · 

        It's easy to find free Premiership football on the internet - no-one I know has paid Murdoch a penny for years

      • Alan commented  · 

        Football is just one example, cricket and now F1 are not available to me. Yes, I have choice; but since I support the 'ethical stance' outlined in the campaign and am not likely to get help from our toothless 'regulators' I'll have to survive without my favourite sports.

      • Dave commented  · 

        Sky is a detestable company. Just type 'I hate Sky' into google and see the problems people have. Their customer service is apalling and their fees are ridiculous; and all to support an organisation that from what we have seen on TV, is alledgedly corrupt from the top.

        But there again, Sky have been an arrogant company for years; I remember 6/7 years ago when I made the terrible mistake of only giving 26 days notice to quit (as we were moving). The customer services person eventually let me off paying an extra years subscription because I offered to pay only 3. Then and maybe still now, all their customer services people seems to be Scots. Hey guys! I love Scotland and the Scots but Sky gives your race a very bad name!!

        Now, we have a small country pub where I've never considered Sky, although we have it in our flat. When I recently checked to see how much it would be for us to show it in the bar, it was over £400. I would never make even *half* of that in extra profit per month....and that was just for the premiereship - no films or other channels; its what Sky call their 'base' package. In contrast, I pay around 45 quid for the whole lot upstairs per month....

        Now I see the F1 and some rugby is going onto Sky only - Our locals were flabberghasted when a recent Wales & England Rugby match was only on Sky!!

        Why don't Sky offer a cut price package to help struggling pubs? It might improve thir image - but I guess that is beyond redemption.

        How long is it before we will not be able to watch *any* television without having a Sky card?? - But I guess thats what the phone hackers are aiming at....


      • Martin commented  · 

        What a disgrace. This is the nation's favourite sport and we MUST pay Murdoch to watch it!

      • graham commented  · 

        i dont watch football but if i did NO WAY would i watch it on sky or anything else i dont even buy any of murdochs group papers any more NOT NOW .the law needs to put mr murdock in prison dont they

      • EC commented  · 

        Marina Hyde has a post on CiF today on Why has no footballer come forward... good place to post

      • David M commented  · 

        I am posting about the campaign on as many threads as I can, but suspect that the sheer volume of posts means that it doesn't stay on screen for very long. It'd be great if everyone who supports the campaign could also post the link. We'll get through by sheer tenacity!

        EC, I'll look into the competition angle.

      • EC commented  · 

        David M
        Might be useful to research this issue re pubs a little more to see if there is a legal/competition angle to it. I recall there was a quite recent court case where a pub landlord was subscribing to a non-Sky ( Eastern European or Greek--not sure)provider in order to air Premiership games and Sky took them to court. Not sure how it turned out, but worth following up.
        Where to post: now is the time to get people to post on all those blogs where Murdoch's role is a topic.

      • tony magill commented  · 

        I like to watch Premier League football but I will never subscribe to Sky, I was a Times reader till Murdoch bought it.

      • David M commented  · 

        Thanks for all the comments and votes. In particular, I was struck by EC's point about the way Sky Sports's dominance of televised live football affects small businesses as well as private individuals. If live Premier League football was available on the BBC or ITV, this would keep costs low for pubs, who are struggling to stay afloat during the recession. If anyone works at a pub or in a pub chain, please forward this campaign suggestion to your colleagues.

        The huge amount of money Murdoch has invested in the game doesn't seem to have improved English football. As Gerry Hat Trick notes, it has led to obscenely high wages for the players, which are funded by expensive TV packages and increasing ticket prices. Football is the national sport and should be available to everyone with the lowest price of entry possible. With Murdoch doing everything he can to acquire BSkyB, we need to apply pressure on politicians and regulators to look into this situation as soon as possible, or risk him consolidating his position.

      • DE commented  · 

        It's time we stopped funding corruption.

      • Andrew Chillman commented  · 

        Football is supposed to be The People's Game - it's time to give it back to the people!

      • Gerry Hat Trick commented  · 

        I'm for this campaign if:

        1. It helps to curb the obscene wages paid to many footballers and thereby stops the punters being bled dry.
        2. It reduces Sky's increasing stranglehold on what the public pays for. It is nothing short of scandalous that Sky, and News International, are on a monopolistic agenda and yet our politicians and regulators sit on their hands looking impotent.
        3. In a broader sense, it helps to curb News International's malign influence on the political and social life of this country.

        There is no reason why a coordinated protest shouldn't work, in a way similar to that of a few years ago when Sky attempted to take over Manchester United Football Club.

        Please let us resist the argument that Sky is only providing what the public wants. Judging by circulation numbers the public seems to want The Sun and The News of the World. This is true up to a point, but what intelligent person would accept the values of Sun and NotW readers as universally good and acceptable standards? I despise these papers and regard its readers as morons who should never have had money wasted on educating them to read.

      • Paul Whitehead commented  · 

        Please end this monopoly NOW. Thank you. Paul Whitehead

      • jan jesson commented  · 

        put an end to this sort of power over the public - champion the people.

      • Paul Anton Lowenthal commented  · 

        Without doubt -let's have more football on non-Murdoch terrestial channels

      • EC commented  · 

        I am not a big sports fan, but strongly support this campaign. It is also important to draw in the issue of pubs and sports bars. Their Sky Sports contracts are quite onerous and are a major expense, for many struggling pubs. Again this is a monopoly issue that affects a local institution. Very important to build a coalition with pubs!

        I also strongly agree re the monopolistic power re films and good series. However, I think the sports issue should be the focus for this campaign. I would be happy to join others in developing a separate campaign about films and series (planning to write to US producers about some current series). Get this off the ground, then other campaigns can link up.
        I saw this link on the Guardian. Keep posting it there and try to post on other blog sites.

      • Rob Cunnington commented  · 

        RM has far too much control over media in this country, particularly when it comes to sports. This has to change!

      • David M commented  · 

        Write to your MP and ask them to vote on Wednesday against allowing Murdoch to buy the rest of BSkyB. This is not a time to be strengthening his grip on the UK media landscape...


        Live football is loved by millions and Sky's near-monopoly on broadcasting rights should be opened up to non-subscription channels.

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