BBC sparks complaints from cricket, snooker

BBC news coverage has prompted complaints from sports governing bodies

The BBC is at loggerheads with the England and Wales Cricket Board over the coverage of the recent Kevin Pietersen-Peter Moores sackings, according to a report in yesterday’s Daily Mail. Separately, World Snooker has complained over a BBC2 Newsnight report on the sport, broadcast in the midst of the channel’s coverage of the Masters tournament.

On the cricket row, Charlie Sale, in his Sports Agenda column, reports that, “There is widespread annoyance within English cricket’s ruling body about the coverage … by BBC sports editor Mihir Bose.”

According to Sale, the ECB found the report “highly biased against the ECB, both in content and tone”.

The two organisations have been at a stand-off since BBC Sport failed to lodge a meaningful bid for Test and one-day international cricket coverage in the last round of television bids. There is now no Test cricket coverage on terrestrial television.

Sale relates that the ECB had received complaints from the county cricket clubs and had been denied adequate opportunity to comment in the report, as is usually required under the BBC’s producer guidelines.

The reports also caused some consternation within BBC Sport: while Sky Sport was reporting that both the England cricket coach and captain had been ousted, the BBC’s correspondents were reporting that there was no official confirmation of such, until Bose offered a two-way interview in which he cited “my sources”.

The apparent conflict between reports by the BBC News department and the interests of the BBC Sport department have prompted major fall-outs in the past: Panorama‘s coverage of football agents eight years ago is the oft-cited reason why Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson continues to flout his Premier League broadcast obligations by refusing to speak to BBC Sport after matches. To this day, the only legal action arising from either Panorama programme is that relating to Kevin Bond, now a member of the Tottenham coaching staff.

Thus yesterday World Snooker submitted a formal protest to the producers of Newsnight after the programme’s Steve Smith donned bow tie and waistcoat to present a feature on the game on Tuesday night.

The light-hearted item failed to mention the two ongoing investigations into alleged corruption in the game, one of which involves Peter Ebdon, a member of the governing body’s board.

For more on the BBC’s coverage of snooker, click here

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