SPORTS AGENDA: Premier League stars use loophole for a trim

SPORTS AGENDA: BBC face probe over ‘live’ coverage of first Test between England and India despite not having the rights… while Premier League stars use TV loophole to enjoy a trim despite Covid lockdown

  • Concern that the broadcaster is providing commentary on series in India
  • BBC are adamant that their Cricket Social audio feed is not a live commentary 
  • Hairdressers have become a common sight at training grounds due to loophole
  • Amazon refusing to share viewing figures for Autumn Nations Cup coverage

Government regulators are closely monitoring the BBC website’s coverage of the England cricket tour of India, amid concern that the broadcaster is providing commentary on a series for which they have not paid.

The BBC are adamant that their Cricket Social audio feed is not a live commentary, but rather discussion and analysis by the likes of Jonathan Agnew and Michael Vaughan of the tour itself and other big issues.

But many times during the first Test it has sounded like a live commentary, which has not gone unnoticed at rights-holders talkSPORT. Insiders have disclosed the BBC themselves are looking into the situation.

Government regulators monitoring the BBC website’s coverage of England tour of India 

England’s abysmal performance against Scotland at Twickenham was not the only display to leave observers scratching their heads. 

At the start of ITV’s coverage, they went to the adverts using a clip of Eddie Jones’s side wearing kit made by Canterbury, rather than current RFU suppliers Umbro, who paid around £20million for the privilege last year.

The clip was not used again and no complaint was made by Umbro, who had kitted out England in special throwback jerseys — and must have wondered why they had bothered.

Hair we go, hair we go 

Premier League stars are using a Covid-19 loophole to ensure they do not encounter the same hairdressing issues as the rest of us.

Quick-thinking officials have spotted a ruling which allows TV stars to have make-up artists and hairdressers on site during filming or on fashion shoots.

Joelinton was fined £200 after posting a picture of himself enjoying a trim at his barbers

With every top-flight match currently being televised, players and coaching staff can claim the same services, providing they are not carried out on premises which have been ordered to close.

That means hairdressers have now become a common sight at training grounds up and down the country.

Unfortunately, news of the loophole does not appear to have reached Newcastle, where £40million striker Joelinton was fined £200 after posting a picture of himself enjoying a trim at his barber’s, who was flouting Government rules.

 Klopp in a spin

Jurgen Klopp’s observation that Manchester City had a ‘two-week break’ thanks to Covid-19 triggered an immediate response from Pep Guardiola before the rivals’ clashed at Anfield.

However, those who read the report of the press conference with the German on Liverpool’s official website could have been forgiven for wondering what all the fuss was about, because the comment was nowhere to be seen. 

Instead, the website inserted three dots, before picking up Klopp’s comments again in a piece of editing that any Westminster spin doctor would have been proud of.

Jurgen Klopp’s loaded comments did not feature in a report on Liverpool website

City enjoy warm welcome 

Fun and games before Burnley’s defeat by Manchester City last week when it was reported that there was no heating in the away dressing room.

With Pep Guardiola and his side out for a much-needed warm-up on a chilly night at one of the country’s most exposed grounds, Burnley staff had to race to a supplier to buy some kerosene for the heater.

The Premier League leaders were delighted when the problem was resolved ahead of kick-off in the temporary marquee which many have claimed is better than the Turf Moor changing rooms used in normal times — and promptly took the lead after three minutes.

Fans irked by BBC bias 

Listeners to BBC Radio 5 Live last week may have thought they had been transported to different parts of the country after the broadcaster decided to take in four local radio commentaries of Premier League matches.

The parochial nature of the updates irked many followers of the away sides, with an understandable bias towards the home team not fit for a national station. 

The BBC say that the move was taken to cut down on non-essential travel.

Channel 4 must up their game

The last-minute deal will not have helped — and while having the action itself is the priority, there remains plenty of work for Channel 4 to do on their cricket coverage.

Bringing in Simon Hughes from his bedroom to essentially talk about himself does not make for enthralling content. 

Indeed, one has to sympathise with Sir Alastair Cook, who could not help pointing out that the recording ‘Yozzer’ had shared of the crowd welcoming Virat Kohli to the crease at an IPL match sounded like a blue tit in his garden.

Test match fails to attract young fans

Joe Root’s hopes that the return of live cricket to terrestrial television this week will ‘inspire a generation’ may be overly optimistic judging by the demographics of Channel 4’s viewers for England’s first Test against India in Chennai.

Just three per cent of the 434,000 day-one average audience were under 25, with 65 per cent of viewers aged 55 or older. 

The pre-match comments by Root were on message, as Inspiring Generations is the title of the ECB’s five-year strategic plan to grow the sport.

Joe Root hopes that the return of live cricket to terrestrial television will ‘inspire a generation’

Amazon coy on rugby viewers

Amazon Prime are refusing to share viewing figures for their Autumn Nations Cup coverage.

The streaming giant’s first foray into broadcasting rugby was given less than a sentence in its annual report, which noted only that ‘millions of Prime members streamed live international rugby’.

Amazon bought exclusive rights for 13 of the tournament’s 16 matches, but will not reveal how many people watched each game.

Contrast that with ITV announcing a peak of 8.4million for the Calcutta Cup on Saturday night.

Football’s over-70s have been joking that they should open a pub for themselves and call it the Vaccinated Arms after receiving the Covid jab. 

Harry Redknapp, 73, and wife Sandra were both jabbed last month, as was commentator Martin Tyler, 75.  

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