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MP questions over BBC-Sky F1 contract

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Sept.02 – Autosport and Daily Mirror are reporting that BBC bosses will have to face questions from a parliamentary select committee in order to address claims they blocked rival free-to-air broadcasters bidding for the rights:- Read the Letter and related reports

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has been sent a letter by Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster in relative to the joint television contract between the BBC and Sky which is set to start next season. Letter sent to Bernie’s office in Knightsbridge, London, Foster claims that the TV contract does not support ‘the best interest of the licence payers and F1 fans’.

‘I believe the best result would have been for the rights to remain with a free to air broadcaster, even if this was not the BBC,’ Foster writes, with the letter having been published on the Liberal Democrat website. In particular I am concerned about the apparently divergent views of FOM and the BBC about the sequence of events. You have said that keeping F1 on free to air was a major priority.’

“I highlight this point because it directly contradicts the BBC’s own account of what happened. Neil Land, Chief Adviser and Business Manager at BBC Sport, states that: Ultimately, it is the responsibility of FOM to decide which broadcasters cover the sport. FOM must decide what is in the best interests of the sport, its employees, manufacturers, sponsors and viewers – when choosing its broadcast partners. On this occasion, FOM decided that a broadcast partnership between the BBC and Sky was in the best interests of the sport. I am alarmed that there is such a gulf between your stories. This deal has led to disappointment and anger among F1 fans and now they have to sift through completely contradictory accounts of who decided what. The least fans deserve is a clear explanation of what has happened. I urge you to give it.”


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