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Seven should not reduce free-to-air coverage of AFL.



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M E D I A S T A T E M E N T

Senator Stephen Conroy Deputy Opposition Leader in the Senate Shadow Minister for Communications and Information Technology

SEVEN SHOULD NOT REDUCE FREE-TO-AIR COVERAGE OF AFL

Media reports that the Seven network is considering selling 4 AFL matches per round exclusively to pay TV will outrage football fans.

Currently 5 matches per round are available for everyone on free-to-air television. Reducing the amount of free-to-air coverage is not in the interests of the game or its supporters.

AFL coverage must not be allowed to follow the path of the National Rugby League where only 2 matches per round are broadcast on free-to-air television.

Only Sydney based media executives would think that the reported arrangement would be acceptable to the public.

Under the anti-siphoning regime, free-to-air networks like Seven are given the opportunity to purchase broadcast rights to key sports like the AFL before pay TV. This system is designed to maximise the likelihood that sports on the list will be shown on free-to-air television.

A deal between Seven and pay TV to reduce free-to-air coverage of the AFL clearly undermines the spirit of the anti-siphoning regime.

Seven paid a lot of money to secure the AFL rights between 2007 and 2011. AFL fans should not be forced to pay the price if they now think that they have paid too much.

Further information: Stephen Conroy on (02) 6277 3295 or 0418 383 965 or Mark Tapley 0418 420 065 Thursday, 1 June 2006