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Minister says his hands are tied, cricket fans ‘filthy’ as key events go to pay TV

Cricket fans are up in arms as a huge $1.2 billion deal between Cricket Australia and broadcasters Foxtel and Seven see key events going to pay TV.

The new six-year deal appears to breach anti-siphoning laws which state one-day and Twenty-20 matches played in Australia, involving the national team, have to be on free-to-air.

Under the deal announced today, the shorter form games will be broadcast on Foxtel.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield says the government can’t force free-to-air broadcasters to purchase certain events.

“What the anti-siphoning list does is it gives free-to-air TV the first opportunity to negotiate for sporting events. It doesn’t guarantee or mandate that those sporting events are on free-to-air,” he tells Ben Fordham.

“All I can do is ensure that there are certain events on the list… it’s then entirely up to the sporting bodies to enter negotiations.”

Ben says this anti-siphoning list won’t be passing the pub test and cricket fans will be “filthy”.

“I think the general public had an expectation that the list is there for a reason. I think the bloke at the pub would say rip up the list, the list is useless.”

Click PLAY below to hear Ben’s interview with Communications Minister Fifield

The open line was ringing off the hook, with one listener Christine telling Ben how her elderly cricket-loving father will be affected.

“My dad’s a 93-year-old man. He lives in a nursing home and he just lives for his cricket.

“He’ll have no access whatsoever. They only have free-to-air TV in the nursing home. They’re not thinking of these people who live in the country who can’t even get to these matches.”

Click PLAY below to hear from Christine

Macquarie Radio’s Ross Greenwood tells Ben Fordham there are major question marks as to how the six-year deal fits within the law.

Ben speaks with Ross Greenwood about the deal