The Irish government has instigated a period of public consultation over the potential addition of 14 events to the list of sporting fixtures and tournaments that are protected in terms of being shown on free-to-air (FTA) TV in the country.
These events come from sports including soccer, rugby union, and hurling, with a deadline for public observations and feedback on the suggestions of February 20. There are five men’s and nine women’s events on the list.
Included amongst the suggested soccer events are Ireland’s games in the UEFA Nations League competition (both men’s and women’s editions), qualifying matches in advance of both the men’s and women’s FIFA World Cup, and matches from that iconic tournament itself.
In terms of rugby union, meanwhile, there is a proposal that Ireland’s fixtures in the Women’s Six Nations and World Rugby World Cup get designated as free-to-air events, as well as the final of the men’s European Rugby Champions Cup should an Irish province take part.
Ireland’s men’s Six Nations fixtures are also included in the proposal, specifically in terms of being moved from their current status of needing deferred FTA coverage, to coming under the live FTA designation.
Multiple hurling and camogie (the women’s equivalent of the former sport) events are also included on the proposal list.
The public consultation has been initiated by Catherine Martin, Ireland’s minister for tourism, culture, arts, sport, and media, with the last review of the FTA broadcast list having taken place in 2017.
Martin has said that the review "provides an opportunity to ensure that our most memorable sporting moments are retained on national TV for the people of Ireland to view together on an equal basis. Watching sporting or other events of national importance together creates a sense of community and national connectedness and should be accessible to everyone.”
She added, specifically regarding the inclusion of various women’s sports events in the list: "I hope to take this opportunity to deliver on a program for government commitment to increase the visibility of women’s sport. The achievements of our female sporting talent should be available to view on our national broadcasters, providing both entertainment and valuable role models to our younger participants in sports. I encourage all interested parties and stakeholders to contribute to this consultation process.”