Sport for the People

Policy motion

As passed by conference

Submitted by: 12 members
Mover: Tim Farron MP.
Summation: Jess Brown-Fuller.


Conference notes that:

  1. Watching sport is one the nation's favourite pastimes - 31 million people watched England men's football team in the Euro 2020 final, over 17 million watched Sir Andy Murray win Wimbledon and the same number watched the England Lionesses win Euro 2022.
  2. The Lionesses' win at the UEFA Euro 2022 Final and their journey to the final of the FIFA World Cup earlier this year has fuelled interest in women's sport in particular.
  3. In 2022, the average viewing time per person for women's sports more than doubled and the number of people watching domestic women's sports has grown to 33 million.
  4. Football remains the most popular sport in the United Kingdom, deeply rooted in our country's culture and tradition, attracting millions of passionate fans and players.
  5. Not a single English Premier League football game in the 2023-24 season will be shown live on free-to-air television, while ticket prices have continued to soar in a cost-of-living crisis, pricing out fans from watching the team they support.
  6. Watching football is becoming increasingly expensive to watch on television as English Premier League rights are shared between multiple providers.
  7. A new deal, signed in December 2023, will see English Premier League rights shared between two subscription providers from the 2025-26 season through to 2029; in Scotland Premiership football is available exclusively through Sky Sports.
  8. A small number of sporting events such as the FIFA men's and women's World Cups are protected in law under Ofcom's 'free-to-air' list.
  9. However, many 'crown jewels' of British sports such as the entirety of the men's Ashes and the vast majority of the women's Ashes are not protected and no longer on free-to-air TV - while others such as the Six Nations are now under threat.

Conference believes that:

  1. Watching sport as a nation helps unite people, creates a sense of belonging and fosters national pride.
  2. Key national sporting events - the 'crown jewels' of sport - should be available to all television viewers, including those who cannot afford the extra cost of subscription television, especially in a cost-of-living crisis.
  3. It is right that the FIFA Women's World Cup Finals and the Women's European Football Championship Finals have been added to the list of sports available to all viewers.
  4. It is a scandal that no English Premier League matches are available on free-to-air TV.
  5. The Government has missed an open goal by failing to protect more of the treasured sporting events which bring people together.

Conference calls on the Government to:

  1. Expand the list of sporting fixtures which must have live coverage made available to free-to-air channels to include:
    1. At least 10 Premier League matches and 10 Scottish Premiership matches every season.
    2. At least 20 games from the English Football League and 10 from the Scottish Championship.
    3. The men's and women's Six Nations.
    4. The Ryder Cup and the Solheim Cup.
    5. The England men's Ashes Test at Lord's, and the England women's Ashes fixture at Lord's.
    6. At least one cricket test match and one day international per summer.
    7. The entirety of the Wimbledon Championships.
  2. Recognise the growing popularity of women's sports and ensure that the list of women's sporting fixtures made available to free-to-air channels mirrors men's.
  3. Review opportunities to televise more disability sports.
  4. Continue to protect key national sporting events such as the Summer and Winter Olympic and Paralympic games.
  5. Help councils to enhance community sporting facilities which play a key role in the early sporting lives of many athletes by working with councils to reform local government finance and supporting improvements to those grassroots community facilities.
  6. Review opportunities to televise and provide media coverage to sports that have not typically enjoyed mainstream coverage.

Applicability: Federal.

Motion text prior to amendment

Conference notes that:

  1. Watching sport is one the nation's favourite pastimes - 31 million people watched England men's football team in the Euro 2020 final, over 17 million watched Sir Andy Murray win Wimbledon and the same number watched the England Lionesses win Euro 2022.
  2. The Lionesses' win at the UEFA Euro 2022 Final and their journey to the final of the FIFA World Cup earlier this year has fuelled interest in women's sport in particular.
  3. In 2022, the average viewing time per person for women's sports more than doubled and the number of people watching domestic women's sports has grown to 33 million.
  4. Football remains the most popular sport in the United Kingdom, deeply rooted in our country's culture and tradition, attracting millions of passionate fans and players.
  5. Not a single English Premier League football game in the 2023-24 season will be shown live on free-to-air television, while ticket prices have continued to soar in a cost-of-living crisis, pricing out fans from watching the team they support.
  6. Watching football is becoming increasingly expensive to watch on television as English Premier League rights are shared between multiple providers.
  7. A new deal, signed in December 2023, will see English Premier League rights shared between two subscription providers from the 2025-26 season through to 2029; in Scotland Premiership football is available exclusively through Sky Sports.
  8. A small number of sporting events such as the FIFA men's and women's World Cups are protected in law under Ofcom's 'free-to-air' list.
  9. However, many 'crown jewels' of British sports such as the entirety of the men's Ashes and the vast majority of the women's Ashes are not protected and no longer on free-to-air TV - while others such as the Six Nations are now under threat.

Conference believes that:

  1. Watching sport as a nation helps unite people, creates a sense of belonging and fosters national pride.
  2. Key national sporting events - the 'crown jewels' of sport - should be available to all television viewers, including those who cannot afford the extra cost of subscription television, especially in a cost-of-living crisis.
  3. It is right that the FIFA Women's World Cup Finals and the Women's European Football Championship Finals have been added to the list of sports available to all viewers.
  4. It is a scandal that no English Premier League matches are available on free-to-air TV.
  5. The Government has missed an open goal by failing to protect more of the treasured sporting events which bring people together.

Conference calls on the Government to:

  1. Expand the list of sporting fixtures which must have live coverage made available to free-to-air channels to include:
    1. At least 10 Premier League matches and 10 Scottish Premiership matches every season.
    2. At least 20 games from the English Football League and 10 from the Scottish Championship.
    3. The men's and women's Six Nations.
    4. The Ryder Cup and the Solheim Cup.
    5. The England men's Ashes Test at Lord's, and the England women's Ashes fixture at Lord's.
    6. At least one cricket test match and one day international per summer.
    7. The entirety of the Wimbledon Championships.
  2. Recognise the growing popularity of women's sports and ensure that the list of women's sporting fixtures made available to free-to-air channels mirrors men's.
  3. Review opportunities to televise more disability sports.
  4. Continue to protect key national sporting events such as the Summer and Winter Olympic and Paralympic games.

Applicability: Federal.

Mover: 7 minutes; summation 4 minutes; all other speakers: 3 minutes. For eligibility and procedure for speaking in this debate, see pages 44-45 of the Agenda

The deadline for amendments to this motion is 13.00 Monday 4 March; see page 47. Those selected for debate will be printed in Conference Extra and Saturday's Conference Daily. The deadline for requests for separate votes is 09.00 Thursday 14 March; see page 44

Amendments

Amendment One

PASSED

Submitted by: ALDC
Mover: Alex Wagner

After 4. (line 68), add: 

5.    Help councils to enhance community sporting facilities which play a key role in the early sporting lives of many athletes by working with councils to reform local government finance and supporting improvements to those grassroots community facilities.

 

Amendment Two

PASSED

Submitted by: ALDC
Mover: Helen Tamblyn-Saville.
Summation: Olly Craven.

After 4. (line 68), add: 

5.    Review opportunities to televise and provide media coverage to sports that have not typically enjoyed mainstream coverage.