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World Cup (Television Rights)

5. Mr. John Grogan (Selby): What correspondence he has had with Kirch sport regarding television coverage of the 2002 and 2006 football World cup finals. [149389]

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr. Chris Smith): I wrote to Dr. Dieter Hahn, the managing director of Kirch Holding, on 29 January in response to his letter to me of 20 December. Dr. Hahn acknowledged my reply on 5 February. A meeting with officials has been arranged for 7 March. I am determined that all viewers in the United Kingdom, including those who do not have subscription television, should be able to watch live all games in the World cup finals and not just those involving the home country teams.

Mr. Grogan: Will my right hon. Friend give me the further assurance that if this Anglo-German contest between the will of Parliament--which first made the World cup finals a listed event as long ago as 1985--and the German media company Kirch goes into extra time and penalties at the European Court, he will make strong representations to both the court and to the Commission in defence of the United Kingdom's listed events? As he said, the list stipulates that every match in the World cup finals should be made available live and at a fair price to free to air terrestrial television.

Mr. Smith: I agree entirely with my hon. Friend. When live rights are made available, they must be made available to all. That is part of the provisions of the listed events that have been put in place. We have made that view very clear, and we shall stick strongly to it.

Mr. Nick Hawkins (Surrey Heath): Does the Secretary of State recognise that one of the most important points

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about keeping major international sporting events on free to air television is the fact that youngsters from less well off backgrounds should have access to the highest quality sport? Does he agree that it is essential to preserve the concept of the listed events as set out in the Broadcasting Act 1996 which was introduced by the previous Conservative Government?

Mr. Smith: It is central to our policy for the protection of viewers and for the long term interests of sport to ensure that the provisions for listed events remain in force. We inherited excellent legislation on this matter from the previous Government and we increased the number of events on the list following the review that we conducted shortly after we came into government. The legislation is an example of good cross-party work on an essential matter that is important to all television viewers and to all sports enthusiasts in this country.

Mr. Derek Wyatt (Sittingbourne and Sheppey): Will my right hon. Friend reconsider the provisions for the World cup in 2002? Given the 12 hour time difference between here and Korea and Japan, many of the games will be shown live at 3 o'clock in the morning in this country. I do not quite see the logic of anyone having the rights to broadcast the games live at 3 o'clock in the morning because what really matters is when the games are first shown. In 2002, the first showing of matches--and not necessarily their live broadcasting--will be the key issue.

Mr. Smith: These are, of course, separate issues. Live events are important and despite the late hour at which some Olympic events were shown, they still attracted substantial interest. We should also remember that many people have video recorders and will want to record the live games so that they can watch them at the first opportunity available to them.

Mr. John Greenway (Ryedale): Will the right hon. Gentleman join me in paying tribute to the late Sir Donald Bradman who was undoubtedly one of the greatest cricketers whom the world will ever see?

On the World cup, we entirely support the Secretary of State's campaign to retain the concept of listed events. It was the result of the settled will of Parliament and such an approach has cross-party support. It is right to defend the concept in this case because of all the other listed events. If the concept of listed events goes in this instance, what else will be lost?

Has the right hon. Gentleman spoken to FIFA? Surely it recognises that it must be in the interests of sponsors and the future of football that as many people as possible are able to watch the matches. Is there not a must-transmit clause in the contract with Kirch? Should pressure be put on BSkyB not to seek exclusive rights to the matches, because that would not be in the interests of football? Sky has done wonderfully well out of football and it must also be in its interests that as many people as possible watch the World cup so that they will watch other football matches in the future.

Mr. Smith: I certainly join the hon. Gentleman in paying tribute to Sir Don Bradman, who was one of the greatest cricketers, if not the greatest, that we have seen for many years. His loss is deeply felt by many people.

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I thank the hon. Gentleman for his general remarks about broadcasting. FIFA requires that the opening match, the semi-finals and the final, as well as matches involving the national team of any one country, should be shown on free to air television. That is included in the FIFA sale of rights. However, FIFA does not go beyond that, but our listed events requirement does because it includes matches other than home country matches. In the previous World cup, viewing figures for some games that did not involve England or Scotland were remarkably high; Jamaica- Croatia, Brazil-Chile and Nigeria-Denmark each had more than 10 million viewers. These events are important to many millions of viewers in this country, and we shall ensure that we stand by the will of Parliament on this matter.

National Collections (Access)

6. Mr. Gordon Prentice (Pendle): How many items from the national collections are on loan to private sector organisations; and how many of them cannot be viewed by members of the general public. [149390]

The Minister for the Arts (Mr. Alan Howarth): Inquiries to the national museums and galleries show that 1,202 items are on loan to private sector organisations, including privately funded art galleries. It is estimated that, of those items, 86 per cent. are available to public view.

Mr. Prentice: My calculation is that 14 per cent. of items from the national collection are not available for the general public to view, which is unfortunate. At any given time, the public can see only 15 per cent. of the Tate's collection, only 18 per cent. of the national collection in the national portrait gallery and less than 5 per cent. of the science museum's collection. Why is it not possible to show items from our national collections in public spaces such as airport and railway concourses, with proper protection, and introduce our citizens to the glories of those collections?

Mr. Howarth: I have a great deal of sympathy with what my hon. Friend says. Works of art are regularly lent and borrowed within this country and throughout the world. That is the only basis on which we in Britain have the opportunity to see wonderful special exhibitions of international importance.

As my hon. Friend says, a significant proportion of items in the national collections are not on display at any given time, and it is highly desirable that more people should have the opportunity to see them. That is why I am very encouraged by the network of relations that the Tate gallery has developed with regional galleries, which will enable more people in the regions to see items from its collection. The science museum will be able to display much more of its collection on the new site at Wroughton, near Swindon. We supported the museum in obtaining that site. Lord Evans, the chairman of Resource, fully sympathises with my hon. Friend's views and is considering the matter as part of his review of regional museums and galleries.

Mr. Nicholas Soames (Mid-Sussex): I wholly endorse the remarks of the hon. Member for Pendle (Mr. Prentice). It is well known that despite the enlightened trusteeship

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of the national gallery and the national portrait gallery, the lending of pictures in this country is niggardly. While we all welcome the opportunity for some great pictures to be lent to other galleries, the hon. Gentleman is right to suggest that many other spaces could be provided for their display so that a much broader section of the general public would have a chance to see them, to their great advantage.

Mr. Howarth: I would not agree that the lending policies of the institutions are niggardly. As I have said, if we were not prepared to exchange items, we would not have the exhibitions that we do. The hon. Gentleman is right to say that much more can be done, and we are keen to encourage that.

Mrs. Ann Cryer (Keighley): As the national museums and galleries are unable to display their entire collections, does my right hon. Friend agree that, instead of lending out items to private organisations, it would be fairer and better if they followed the example of the science museum, which has links with the national railway museum, York and the national museum of photography, film and television in Bradford? Both those museums are extremely popular and enable people from the north to see those wonderful collections.

Mr. Howarth: My hon. Friend is quite right to draw attention to the remarkable quality of those collections in York and Bradford. As I have said, we are keen that more of our national collections should be available to a larger number of people in all parts of the country. I fully agree with her.

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