BBC licence fee funding for major sporting events coverage could be under threat

The BBC could be set to lose funding to cover major sporting events such as Wimbledon, the Six Nations and the FA Cup, if it doesn't ‘get its house in order’.

The threat to its sports coverage is reported by the Telegraph this morning (28 October) as it cites a source ‘close to’ culture secretary Maria Miller and follows the call by Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps for the BBC to lose its right to receive the licence fee after a period of ‘waste’ by the corporation over excessive pay-offs and high executive wages.

Miller is said to be considering whether the BBC does have a right to the funding of such sporting events, with Commercial broadcasters long having bemoaned that they would needed to have raised their own revenue in order to fund such rights for their own viewers.

According to the Telegraph’s source: “There is a conversation to be had there as to whether the BBC should be funding things that are also covered by commercial broadcasters. There's an array of sporting events,

"It would impact on the licence fee. The money that was given to the BBC could theoretically be given to other broadcasters who were doing something that we would consider of public service.

"The BBC covers a whole range of events which private commercial broadcasters pay to cover."

In September, while speaking at the Royal Television Society, Miller said of scandals that have recently plagued the corporation, including the sex crimes committed by its long-time presenters Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall over several decades: “I think they have to put their house in order now…that is what they have indicated to me and that is what every licence fee payer in this country would expect.

“It is totally unacceptable to have the sort of headlines we have seen in recent months.”

The BBC Royal Charter that sets the price of the annual licence fee, which has been frozen at £145.50 in recent years, and has meant that the BBC has been forced into implementing widespread cost cutting measures across the UK, is due for renewal in 2016.

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