Matt's Crow Country: EU wrong on television rights

PUBLISHED: 10:51 23 June 2009 | UPDATED: 16:03 11 May 2010

GENERALLY I like to stick up for the European Union. Although it has many faults, I think we re better off in it than out of it, and the benefits of being a member state far outweigh the negatives that would ecru if we were to go it alone. However, they

GENERALLY I like to stick up for the European Union.

Although it has many faults, I think we're better off in it than out of it, and the benefits of being a member state far outweigh the negatives that would ecru if we were to go it alone.

However, they do have some funny ideas sometimes. Witness the furore about television football rights which has been kicking off this week. Three years ago, the EU decided it wasn't good for the consumer if all the rights were owned by one company, Sky television. So they split the games into six packages and put them up for auction; Sky ended up four, and another broadcaster, Setanta, picked up two.

Then when the rights came up for auction again earlier this year, Sky grabbed a fifth package, meaning that from the 2010/11 season they had the rights to show 92 live games to Setanta's 23. Consequently, Setanta have defaulted on several payments, and this week it was announced that as of 2010/11, you will need a Sky dish if you want to watch Wayne Rooney, Stephen Gerrard, and co.

Competition is all very well in theory, but the way it was implemented here is ludicrous. How can it be a good deal for hardened Premiership fans to have to shell out twice if they want to see all the games? And because they are allowed to control so many of the games, where is the incentive for Sky to drop their prices?

For me it should be all or nothing: The EU either need to let Sky have all the Premier League football, or introduce a rule whereby one company can only own a maximum of 50 per cent of the rights. I believe that would see true competition, and a possible reduction of the cost of watching premium sporting events. As it is, anyone who wants to challenge the Sky behemoth is doomed before they even start.

I had the dubious pleasure of attending the Royston church fete last Saturday.

I say dubious not because the tombola, cake stall, and human fruit machine were below standard, but because I was recruited be a participant on the ducking stall, which saw torrents of icy water tipped over my head at regular intervals by fete goers.

It would be a lie to say that it was particularly pleasurable experience, but organiser Trevor Lloyd assures me that my name is already down for next year, so that's something to look forward to(!)

On a serious note, it was great to see so many people turning out for a Royston event. We can be proud that we live in an area with such a strong sense of community, and I'm sure the upcoming Pink Ribbon run/walk will be testimony to this also.

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