The Central Council of Physical Recreation
1. The quantity and quality of sports coverage
broadcast on television has grown significantly in recent years
since the entry into the market of subscription channels distributed
via cable or satellite. This development has been to the benefit
of major spectator sports in the UK and the sporting public alike.
The governing bodies which are signatories to this document have
all sought to apply a share of these resources in order to secure
the development of their sports. They can demonstrate clear improvements
as a result. They have also sought to ensure that the general
public have access to view a range of major national sporting
events, as they recognise that the coverage of sport at its best
will stimulate and deepen interest in their sports, and encourage
greater sponsorship support. They believe that the individual
governing bodies of sport are in a position to strike an appropriate
balance between best commercial advantage and the wider long-term
interests of their sports and the sporting public.
2. However, recognising the widespread interest
in the availability on television and radio of major national
sporting events, and mindful as ever of their reponsibilities
to their sports and the general public, the undersigned governing
bodies of major sports, after discussion with the Sports Council,
have agreed a Code of Practice to determine the principles by
which the sale of broadcasting rights should be negotiated and
lay those principles clearly before Parliament and the public.
3. The Code of Practice hereby agreed recognises
the role of governing bodies in negotiating with all broadcasters
to obtain either the best market rate or other preferred financial
arrangements for event coverage. The signatories acknowledge that
the duties of sports bodies to maximise income from rights sales
for the benefit of their sports and the desirability of the widest
possible broadcasting exposure may not always coincide. They undertake
to make every reasonable effort to strike a balance between these
objectives that is in the best interest of sports development
and the wider sporting public alike.
4. The central principle of this Code is
to ensure that coverage of major sporting events will be available
to the general public in live, recorded and/or highlights programmes.
5. Therefore, a principle objective in any
negotiation that a signatory may undertake will be-assuming interest
on the part of the broadcasters-to provide for the availability,
at a fair market price, of either live, recorded or highlights
coverage of the event on a terrestrial channel, on the one hand,
and on any subscription channel on the other. A fair market price
in relation to highlights should take into consideration all the
relevant factors and the value of the exclusive live rights. This
shall not exclude the absolute right of the party securing live
rights also to show highlights of the event, if the party has
purchased those rights.
6. A further negotiating objective of the
governing body will be to ensure that acquisition of exclusive
television rights shall not preclude simultaneous radio commentary.
7. The Code of Conduct will be monitored
by an ad hoc Committee, Chaired by an independent Chairman, and
comprising of representatives from the participating bodies, the
CCPR Major Spectator Sports Division, the Sports Council, and
at least one other independent member.
8. This Committee will in turn appoint a
panel of independent expert advisers, whose Chairman shall report
to the main Monitoring Committee and, failing appropriate response,
will be able to report publicly on any derogation that may have
been perceived or alleged from the terms of spirit of this Code.
The full terms of reference of the Committee and the Panel will
be published and will ensure the independence of the Chairman
of the Panel from the governing bodies. In framing these terms
of reference, rigour and transparency in monitoring and appeal
procedures will be assured.
9. Other sports bodies which are considering
signing the Code may be invited to send observers to Committee
Meetings as judged appropriate by the Committee.
10. The signatories acknowledge the desirability
of widely available broadcast coverage in order to sustain interest
in national sporting events and to encourage the future development
of individual sports. They recognise the important part played
in this over the years by the terrestrial broadcasters and value
their continuing relationships with those organisations.
11. However, the governing bodies also welcome
the fact that continuing technological developments in broadcasting
are greatly expanding the number of channels. These have provided
opportunities for the in-depth broadcasting of substantial numbers
of sporting events never previously available on television and
have brought extra revenue into sport. This channel growth also
enables full coverage of events that the terrestrial channels
cannot currently schedule, for example, the recent Cricket World
12. It is recognised that a major factor
in the negotiation of broadcasting rights will be the scheduling
requirements and policies of broadcasters and that these will
primarily determine the fees that they are prepared to offer and
the contractual terms they are prepared to agree. These factors
are not within the control of the sporting bodies. However, the
signatories express the hope that broadcasters will endorse the
spirit of this Code and act in accordance with it.
13. The Code will apply to governing bodies
representing the following sports:-
The Football Association Limited
The Lawn Tennis Association
The Racecourse Association Limited
Royal and Ancient Golf Club of
The Rugby Football League
The Rugby Football Union
The England and Wales Cricket
Representatives of other sports may adhere to
the Code on similar terms, as may other UK bodies which have control
of broadcasting rights to major national sporting events.
14. The Code will apply for a maximum of
five years from the date of its initial signing, irrespective
of whether other sports bodies become signatories at a late date.
It will be subject to a full interim review, in consultation with
the Sports Councils, no later than the end of the third year after
signing. Results of that review and any proposals for modification
will be notified to Parliament.
15. Any Party is free to withdraw for five
years, but if so doing, will undertake to publish a written notice
to the Monitoring Committee of their reasons.
16. The principles of this Code will apply
to all events, the television rights to which are solely under
the ownership or control of the participating UK governing bodies,
or other signatories to this Code, which have significant national
or international standing.
17. The signatories of this Code will respect
any convention on news access agreed between UK broadcasters.
18. The participating governing bodies and
any other signatories will encourage the organisers of international
games which take place within the UK to honour the principles
of the Code.
19. The signatories reaffirm the financial
benefits to sport that follow from a wider competitive market
in broadcasting. In view of this, while accepting the provision
of the Broadcasting Act 1990, they would respectfully request
that no further restrictions should be placed on the sale of rights
beyond those which they voluntarily undertake under this Code.
20. Without prejudice to their general policy
of not hypothecating items of revenue to particular purposes,
the governing bodies undertake to nominate a proportion of the
total fees from UK Broadcasting sales of events covered by this
Code which may vary, but shall in no year be less than 5 per cent
of that part of event income as an earmarked contribution to the
development of their sport. Subject always to fluctuations in
the overall income they may receive in each financial year, they
will endeavour to ensure that this "special development contribution"
from fee income is not offset by reductions in other development
21. Use of this special development money
will be notified publicly and in the individual sport's annual
operational or corporate/development plan. A sample list of projects
supported will be published as an appendix to the plan.
22. The governing bodies draw attention
to the fact that, both technically and commercially, the pace
of change in broadcasting remains very rapid. It may therefore
not be practical at any given time to fix a regime for governing
decisions on the broadcasting of sport that will be both suitable
and stable over any extended period of time. There are also distinct
differences between the nature of individual sports and, as a
result, between the most appropriate contractual arrangements
for broadcasting each of them.
23. Nonetheless, bearing in mind the importance
of these issues to the sporting public, the undersigned have come
together to agree between them this Code of Conduct, whose main
aim is to ensure that all major sporting events may in future
become available to the general public in live, recorded or highlights