Challenge Cup final earns reprieve

The future of the Challenge Cup final on terrestrial television will now not be decided until the end of 2012.

Sports and Olympics minister Hugh Robertson said a ruling on sport’s listed events would be made after the digital television switchover process.

The Davies Report had recommended that the final of rugby league’s oldest competition be removed from the free-to-air listing.

Since then, Supporters Direct have been building support amongst rugby league to have the recommendation refused, to keep the final on terrestrial television. It is currently shown yearly by the BBC.

At the time of their campaign, a spokesman said: “As a sport, we believe Rugby League needs to be exposed to the widest audience possible.  If the Challenge Cup is delisted, the rights to show the competition can be bought by the highest bidder, which puts that at risk.

“This campaign is not about which club you support or the league that they play in. It is about ensuring continued exposure of Rugby League to a mass audience, and we believe this will help all clubs to grow and develop.”

If the final was delisted, it would enable satellite broadcasters, such as SKY, to bid for the rights, significantly reducing the potential audience for the Wembley showpiece.

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