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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, of course I understand the powerful emotion behind that idea. The point that I want to make about all the reactions to the Gordon Report is that listing does not mean that any particular match will be shown on terrestrial television. It is simply not true to say that if an event is listed it will be shown on terrestrial television, and that if it is not listed it will not be shown. I sought to argue that the case for a wide audience for Rugby League, and for the Challenge Cup in particular, does not depend on whether or not the event is listed. It seems to me highly unlikely that, even if it is not listed, the Rugby League authorities themselves will go for an exclusive deal with Sky which would stop the event being shown on terrestrial television. There are failures in logic, at least in some of the press discussion that I have seen. Listing gives no certainty of showing on terrestrial television, and non-listing does not give certainty of exclusive pay-to-view or subscription deals, or the exclusion of terrestrial deals. That is the context in which we should be examining the whole issue of listed events.

I recognise of course the force of the arguments for the importance of Rugby League football and the force of the arguments by my noble friend Lord Orme for cricket; but I remind him that the noble Lord, Lord MacLaurin, the Chairman of the English Cricket Board, has himself said that, whether or not there is listing, he

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wishes to keep English cricket on terrestrial television. Since he is a member of the body that makes decisions about the deals that are done with broadcasters, I believe that that should be taken with a considerable degree of seriousness.

No one will be satisfied with everything that is said in any report, particularly a report which obviously has within it an element of compromise because it is unanimous. However, I believe that the welcome which my noble friend Lord Gordon has received from the Liberal Democrat and Conservative Front Benches

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ought to weigh with my right honourable friend the Secretary of State. He will make his own decision. I am not in any way pre-empting that decision, but I believe that the debate we have had this evening will help him to do that. I hope that it will be possible for him to make his decision responsibly and after proper consideration, within a very few weeks. I repeat the expressions of gratitude which have been made to my noble friend Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract for introducing this important subject.

        House adjourned at twenty-nine minutes before ten o'clock.

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