Special Correspondent

List of sports events notified by I&B Ministry to operationalise downlinking guidelines

List to be valid for five years Subject to annual review No need to share entire tournaments with DD

NEW DELHI: Television rights holders of international fixtures in tennis, hockey, football, chess, snooker and billiards besides the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Afro-Asian Games will have to share signals with Doordarshan as per the list of sports events notified by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry to operationalise the downlinking guideline pertaining to mandatory sharing of television feed with the public broadcaster.

Cricket was notified as one such sport when the downlinking guidelines were issued last year. The list has been drawn up by the I&B Ministry in consultation with the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, Prasar Bharati, sports channels and sports rights holders companies. The list will be valid for five years and will be subject to review annually.

According to the notification, "Live feeds, without any advertisements of the sports channels/sports rights holders, of the sporting events of national importance held in India or abroad are required to be shared with Prasar Bharati with immediate effect by sports channels/sports management companies having television broadcasting rights, for broadcast on their terrestrial and DTH networks."

With this notification, India joins countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom, Italy and other members of the European Union that have similar guidelines to ensure that sporting events of national importance can be accessed by the public in the free-to-air mode, ideally through the public service broadcasting platform. However, rights holders will not have to share entire tournaments with Doordarshan. In the case of tennis, this clause applies to all finals of the four Grand Slams and World Tennis Association championships besides matches featuring an Indian player in the quarterfinals and above.

As for football, semi-finals and finals of World Cup Football, the European Cup and the Asia Cup besides all matches featuring India will be covered by this provision. Likewise for the semi-finals and finals of Subroto Cup, Santosh Trophy, Federation Cup, Durand Cup, National Women Football Championship and Junior National Football Championship.

All matches featuring India and semi-finals and finals of the Hockey World Cup and the Champions Trophy are the international fixtures in the games that come under the ambit of this guideline. On the domestic circuit, telecast rights holders of the semi-finals and finals of Beighton Cup and Indira Gandhi Gold Cup Hockey will have to share their signals with Doordarshan. Similar guidelines will apply to chess and billiards.