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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Amendment Shoots Down Sky Coverage

LONDON -- Britain's upper house of parliament has struck a blow for the right of millions of sports fans to see key events on regular television channels when it amended a government bill by a huge majority.


Members of the non-elected House of Lords on Tuesday said they were speaking for the majority of Britons who could not afford a ?300 ($460) yearly subscription to media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB satellite broadcasting sports channel, which owns exclusive rights to several major sports events.


They carried the amendment, placing a duty on the Independent Television Commission to ensure a number of listed events were not shown exclusively on satellite television, by 223 votes to 106. The original bill had restricted only pay-per-view broadcast rights.


This would mean people could see them at no extra cost besides the annual television licence fee of less than ?100.


The government may still attempt to reverse the amendment when its Broadcasting Bill reaches the House of Commons.


Lord Peyton launched a bitter attack on Murdoch, an Australian-born U.S. citizen, who Peyton said "owes this country no allegiance, who does not seem to be overwhelmed by admiration for its institutions or way of doing things ... but who finds it a very profitable place in which to do business."


This brought a charge of xenophobia from Lord Wyatt, a leading figure in Britain's horse racing industry, which, he said, wanted to sell events to the highest broadcasting bidder.