St Helens MPs back Free for All campaign

The Supporters Direct Keep it Free for All campaign has gained significant political support in strong rugby league area, St Helens.

Dave Watts, the MP for St Helens North has added his name to the petition which aims to keep the Rugby League Challenge Cup on the list of protected events for free-to-air TV coverage and has also raised the issue in Parliament with Culture Secretary, Ben Bradshaw.

He said of the recommendation to remove the competition from the list, which could see the future development of rugby league severely affected, “They (government ministers) are certainly aware about the strength of feeling and we are looking for a positive outcome.”

A public consultation period is currently open giving members of the public the opportunity to air their views on the recommendations, which also included the removal of the Epsom Derby and Winter Olympics, after which the Secretary of State will decide whether to accept the recommendations.  

Since the recommendations were announced, Laura Harrison, Rugby League Development Officer for Supporters Direct has been working with the All Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group to fight the recommendations and there are a number of ways you can show your support:

Sign the Petition: Be sure to add your name to the petition at

Respond to the Consultation directly: Further details of the consultation can be found at giving you the chance to respond directly with your comments.  

We’ve drafted a letter for you to use at

Write to your MP: Almost 100 MPs have already signed Early Day Motion 48, a petition for politicians, supporting the campaign.  Please write to your MP and request that they do the same.  You can write to your MP quickly and easily at using the letter we’ve drafted for you at

Pass it on: Email details of this campaign to your fellow fans, friends, family. Tweet it:, Facebook it email it and text it. Let everyone know that they can do something to Keep the Cup Free for All but make sure you sign the petition at least. 

You can also let us have your favourite memories – video or audio clips, pictures and words – via the facebook group: but make sure you sign the petition:

We’re all proud of the Challenge Cup as a celebration of the game of Rugby League. Let’s make sure future generations have the same chance as us to celebrate.

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