Friday, June 29, 2007

Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster

It’s amazing the stories that can creep through on a slow news day, as The Sun’s infamous headline from 1986 proves. World Sports Law Report was ready to commission an article after The Guardian suggested that the European Commission was ‘considering’ breaking up the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) collective sale of its TV rights to the Winter and Summer Olympics, so that individual sports would be sold separately.

‘It’s none of the EC’s bloody business and they should back off’, said an ‘influential figure’, reported The Guardian.

However, the European Commission has described the story as ‘completely false’, reports Sportcal.com. ‘The Commission is not looking at the way the IOC is selling its media rights’, spokesperson Jonathan Todd told the internet site. ‘By definition, the Commission is not therefore asking the IOC to unbundle its rights or anything else’.

Publicist Max Clifford, who was responsible for the ‘Hamster’ headline, later admitted that Starr had not eaten the Hamster in a television interview with Esther Rantzen. It is understood that The Guardian was reporting on ‘mood music’ from sources at the Commission regarding the next Olympics broadcasting deal.

Although the ‘Hamster’ article proves that you shouldn’t believe everything in the press, it is worth keeping one eye on the issues raised in The Guardian’s article, as the IOC has yet to make any official statements on broadcast tenders for 2014/2016.

 Andy Brown


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