Fans are being urged to support a campaign that’s aiming to defeat the proposal to remove the Challenge Cup Final from the free-to-view TV listing.
The Davies Committee recommended last month that rugby league’s showpiece Wembley event be removed from the A list of events, which is the list of protected sporting events that must be televised on terrestrial channels.
Supporters Direct, who are behind the drive to block the proposals, have opposed the recommendation, along with the Rugby League All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and the board of the RFL.
The RFL has given evidence to the Committee and responded to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to this effect. An Early Day Motion (EDM) has been tabled by Neil Turner MP as Secretary and the Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs who are Vice-Chairs of the Group, and a parliamentary debate is being sought.
Supporters Direct is now urging rugby league supporters to write and encourage their local MP to sign the EDM No to indicate their support for the campaign. Supports can also support the campaign by writing to DCMS and making their views known. The number of letters they receive will be a major factor in their accepting or rejecting the report’s recommendations. Once open, the consultation, and contact details for responses will be listed at http://www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/consultations/default.aspx.
In an open letter, Laura Harrison, the Rugby League Supporters Trusts Development officer, said: “I believe that we can overturn this recommendation, but only if we act collectively as Rugby League fans in the way I have suggested. I hope you will join with fellow RL Trusts members to see if we can help keep the Challenge Cup on ‘free to air’ television, and allow all those many fans who cannot see regularly televised Super League games live, enjoy one of our games greatest spectacles, and see top teams battle for one of our country’s oldest trophies.”
There are a number of supporters trusts established within rugby league, including Rochdale and Widnes, and they are all expected to back the campaign.
What do you think? Should the Challenge Cup remain on the A list of events?