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Ricky Hatton disappointed with Sky split

Former world champion Hatton blasts Sky after surprise split from promotions company



18:00 GMT, 1 May 2012

Ricky Hatton has hit out at Sky after the broadcaster pulled the plug on their TV deal.

The former two-weight world champion will stage his final show with Sky on June 16 in Manchester after being informed he will not be offered any further dates.

But Hatton has revealed his bitter disappointment at the way the relationship was brought to an end.

Hitting out: Ricky Hatton is disappointed with Sky's decision

Hitting out: Ricky Hatton is disappointed with Sky's decision

‘The news came as a blow and I feel we have been unfairly treated, but there are meetings already set up with other TV channels,’ Hatton explained.

‘Next season I am very confident that my fighters will have a big television platform to perform on.

‘I have a great stable of fighters, many champions and a hard working team. TV companies have contacted me – not me them which is encouraging.

‘The most disappointing aspect of it all is the relationship I had with Sky until almost two weeks ago.

‘It isn’t rocket science to work out how well I did for Sky Sports as a boxer and a promoter.

Stable talent: Martin Murray

Stable talent: Martin Murray

‘I was their first world champion to come through without terrestrial TV, gave them their biggest Box Office successes ever and helped make them millions of pounds.

‘They repaid me by telling me I had no more dates by e-mail. There was no phone call to me or anything like that and when the e-mail was sent to my Director of Boxing, Richard Poxon – not me.

‘If you finish with a girlfriend by e-mail all your mates would be calling you some right names. I obviously have better morals than they do.’

Hatton Promotions are gearing up for their biggest bill next month at the Manchester Velodrome which includes the all-British clash between Scott Quigg and Rendall Munroe for the vacant WBA interim super-bantamweight title.

The ‘Road to Glory’ card also includes Ryan Rhodes’ fight with Sergey Rabchenko for the vacant European light-middleweight title while Martin Murray and Richard Towers will also be in action.

Tickets for ‘Road to Glory’ are now on sale priced 125 (VIP Inner Ringside + exclusive cash bar), 100 Ringside, 55, 35 and 30. Visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk.

BBC becoming part of history as R&A issues warning – Des Kelly

I don't pay to see the BBC become part of history



21:54 GMT, 23 April 2012

I have an old television somewhere in the cellar. It still works, I think.

The remote control is long lost. The screen now looks disappointingly small despite the bulky box around it. And crammed with the old technology of circuit boards and electric coils, the machine is an almighty lump to shift.

It is closer to the 3d of old pennies than the 3D Dolby surround sound wizardry we now take for granted.

But this was my luminous window on the sporting world. It glowed one night in 1985 when I saw Dennis Taylor pump the air with his fists after his epic triumph over Steve Davis.

Unforgettable: Dennis Taylor celebrates at the Crucible in 1985

Unforgettable: Dennis Taylor celebrates at the Crucible in 1985

It was my looking glass a year-and-a-half later when Nigel Mansell's Formula One championship exploded along with his rear left tyre in Adelaide.

Back then the BBC ruled the sporting airwaves. I can still hear Murray Walker's yelps of excitement, Ted Lowe's whispering calm.

Comfy: Peter Alliss has been commentating on the BBC for decades

Comfy: Peter Alliss has been commentating on the BBC for decades

David Coleman, John Motson, Des Lynam
and Peter O'Sullevan were instantly recognisable voices. The old box
was brimful of memories.

is a relic now, of course; no more than a personal museum piece. It has
been overtaken by innovation and advances elsewhere, much like the BBC

To hear the Royal and Ancient serve warning that the Corporation's golf coverage is not hi-tech enough is an extraordinary slap down for the broadcaster. The declaration that golf is 'keeping an eye' on the BBC's lack of investment sounds the death knell for The Open's presence on free-to-air terrestrial television.

But it is fair criticism. While the BBC
have remained true to the comfy cardigan style of Peter Alliss, with his
tuts of admonishment and gentle 'Ooo's' as a putt trundles holeward,
the American broadcaster ESPN turned up at St Andrews last year armed
with enough gizmos to launch a mission to Mars.

They blanketed The Old Course with
90-plus cameras, a shot tracer zoomed with the drives in flight and ESPN
deployed its PuttZone technology, which plots the ideal putting line,
but adds a shaded region that adjusts depending on the speed of the ball
to show how far off line an attempt can be and still have a chance of
dropping in.

Memorable: But will glorious moments like Darren Clarke's Open win be absent from BBC screens in the future

Memorable: But will glorious moments like Darren Clarke's Open win be absent from BBC screens in the future

Mike McQuade
of ESPN said the gadgets were a 'game changer'. And so it seems. It has
certainly changed the golfing hierarchy's expectation of how The Open
should be covered.

Sky are no
slouches with their computerised thingamabobs either. They have formed
an alliance with Eurosport this summer to show 100 hours of the Olympics
in 3D, including the 100 metres final and opening and closing
ceremonies. And it will be open to all Sky+ HD subscribers.

Assurance: The BBC still cover some big events like the Six Nations

Assurance: The BBC still cover some big events like the Six Nations

also screened Masters coverage up against the BBC and did it with the
aplomb they have long brought to football and cricket. They now have
their sights set on claiming The Open ahead of ESPN, leaving the BBC
with another late-night highlights package.

When the Beeb does live major events, it still does them with assurance. Wimbledon tennis is so much a part of their output that for a fortnight it is hard to define where the BBC ends and Wimbledon begins. In Auntie's hands the Olympics will be every bit as majestic and patriotic as the Queen's Jubilee this summer. The rugby union Six Nations is handled with great professionalism.

The BBC undoubtedly have dedicated production staff and some great journalists. But morale is low. Much of the Formula One coverage has been pillaged by Sky, horse racing has been allowed to bolt to Channel 4, ITV has pinched the French Open tennis and BBC Radio 5 Live is under pressure from commercial competitors like talkSPORT.

Hamstrung by cuts and cowed by criticism that public money is used to finance the escalating price of exclusive rights, the BBC is being pushed to the sidelines. It might be economic reality, but it is still a shame.

I pay to see the BBC cover history. Not make itself history.

BBC could lose Open Championship, warns Peter Dawson

You could lose The Open! BBC warned they must move with the times or risk losing another crown jewel



00:05 GMT, 24 April 2012

The BBC is in danger of losing another of its sporting ‘crown jewels’ after organisers of The Open golf championship fired a warning shot on Monday.

Less than a fortnight after the Grand National was screened by the Beeb for the last time, the ruling Royal and Ancient made clear The Open will follow suit unless the corporation raises its performance — and its offer.

The Open is now the only men’s golf event the BBC broadcasts for all four days. R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said: ‘It is a concern. They have to stay in practice and keep up with the advances in technology in broadcasting.

Warned: The BBC were told to up their game at a Royal & Ancient press conference on Monday

Warned: The BBC were told to up their game at a Royal & Ancient press conference on Monday

'They know we have our eye on them, for sure. They are also well aware they need to come off the financial plateau they are on with regard to The Open at the moment.'

Dawson’s comments will alert not only Sky but possibly ESPN as well. The R&A already have a contract with the American broadcaster to show The Open in the States.

The Open is on the B list of crown jewels, which means a highlights package has to be made available to be shown on terrestrial television. But it is the live rights that are the glittering prize and Sky would pay a fortune if given the chance.

As for keeping up with advances in technology, Dawson will have noted the Masters was shown in 3D on Sky this month.

Strengthening the R&A’s case is the fact the professional game is on a high in the UK, with the world’s top three players all hailing from these shores. Darren Clarke’s Open victory last year was watched by 6.1 million viewers, the highest figure for eight years.

The BBC once covered 24 days of live men's golf a year but that number has now dwindled to just six, comprising The Open and the weekend’s play from the Masters.

Magic moment: Darren Clarke's win at The Open last year was enjoyed by millions watching the BBC

Magic moment: Darren Clarke's win at The Open last year was enjoyed by millions watching the BBC

Dawson also had a dig at the stunt of having former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan conducting interviews at Augusta. 'It did seem a rather unusual choice,' he said.

The BBC’s contract with the R&A
runs until 2016, and they have two time-honoured trump cards: they can
offer the widest possible audience and they have shown The Open for more
than half a century.

But Dawson’s comments send a clear signal they would be making a grave mistake to overplay these.

'Who knows who else will be in the market by then' asked Dawson. 'Maybe ESPN for all I know.'

McArthur, chairman of the championship committee, said: 'The Open has
been shown on the BBC for 50 years and we’d like that to continue.

we recognise they show a number of sports and their coverage of golf
has dropped dramatically, so we’re keeping an eye on it.'


Tradition: Peter Alliss has been commentating on the BBC for decades

Tradition: Peter Alliss has been commentating on the BBC for decades

The BBC argue they cannot afford live golf any more, so there does not seem much chance of them coming off the financial ‘plateau’ Dawson is talking about.

Only last month it was announced that Sky will now be the only place to watch live play from the European Tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, and the Scottish Open in July.

At the Masters, the BBC’s voice of golf Peter Alliss said: 'It’s sad, it’s the end of an era. The racing has gone and Formula One has gone. It’s very hard to compete with someone with seemingly unlimited funds. The BBC can’t compete.'

A BBC spokesperson said: 'The BBC have only recently signed a new deal for The Open golf until 2016. We are completely committed to this event and are looking forward to bringing the Championship to audiences for the next five years.’

Dawson was speaking at the R&A’s traditional press gathering, where his candour on a number of subjects made for a refreshing contrast to the desperate flummoxing of Masters chairman Billy Payne at Augusta.

The alarming increase in the use of
the belly putter and the on-course antics of Tiger Woods were two more
subjects that vexed him.

Having a go: Dawson hit out at Tiger Woods

Having a go: Dawson hit out at Tiger Woods

the former, he admitted the R&A had watched with dismay as many
younger players had taken up the belly putter and are looking again to
see if the wretched thing meets all the rules regarding method of

That’s the good
news. The bad news is that, even if it doesn’t, it will be 2016 and the
next rules update before action is taken.

As for Woods, Dawson didn’t mince his words when asked about the player’s swearing and spitting.

'There’s no denying it is an unedifying spectacle,' he said.

shrill sound of mobile phones will be heard again this year after a
five-year ban following the 2006 edition at Hoylake, when their
continual use drove a number of players to distraction.

year’s Open will be staged the week before the Olympics, and the
R&A have been pleasantly surprised it appears to be having no

Dawson expects up to 200,000 people to make it to Lytham, always one of the most popular venues on the rota.

'We’re in good shape and feel fortunate to be able to say that.'

What a shame the same can’t be said about golf on the BBC.

Memorable: Millions have watched classic sporting moments in years gone by

Memorable: Millions have watched classic sporting moments in years gone by

Darts legend Jocky Wilson dies at 62

Farewell Jocky of the oche: Darts mourns the loss of two-time world champion Wilson



22:08 GMT, 25 March 2012

Jocky. Those who transcend sport and life require just one name. If they are loved by all, their Christian name suffices.

So it was with a wee man from Kirkcaldy who came to symbolise darts and stand as a 1980s beacon of endearing simplicity.

Darts was in its terrestrial television heyday and Jocky Wilson was one of the holy trinity alongside Eric Bristow and John Lowe. Bristow won more world titles — five to his Scottish rival’s two (in 1982 and 1989) — but Jocky won more hearts.

VIDEO: Scroll down to see footage of Wilson's two world titles

Champion: Jocky Wilson, who won two world titles, has died aged 62

Champion: Jocky Wilson, who won two world titles, has died aged 62

After all, not only did he represent every ordinary bloke who toed the oche in a pub over a pint, he couldn’t even throw properly, lurching to one side as his arm was flung in the opposite direction. The difference was, when Jock did it, the dart still hit its target.

‘He would need double top with his last dart,’ Bristow recalled yesterday, smiling. ‘I wouldn’t look at the dart board, I’d just watch him. He’d jump with his last dart and in that split second I’d think “I’ve got another shot”.

‘Then you’d hear the announcer shout “Game” and you’d look up and it was right in the middle of double top. That was Jocky. The first five sets he took off me in the 1989 World Championship final, he could have thrown them over his shoulder and hit a 180.’

Jocky Wilson

Jocky Wilson

Popular: Wilson entered the sport as its appeal with the public began to grow

And unorthodox. When the pair played each other at the World Team Cup in Livingston, Jocky resorted to odd tactics.

Bristow added: ‘He kicked me before we went on stage. Took about four inches of skin off my shin. Luckily, the England team wore red trousers so even though my leg was bleeding, nobody could see it. Then I had to hobble on stage, shake his hand and play him. He won. We had a drink after. I said “What was all that about” He said “I’ve got to try to beat you somehow”.’

Born in Kirkcaldy, where he died on Saturday night aged 62, Wilson began his working life as a miner. He had a weakness for sweets and rarely brushed his teeth because his grandmother told him ‘the English poison the water’. /03/25/article-2120039-1253107B000005DC-651_468x337.jpg” width=”468″ height=”337″ alt=”Legends: Wilson with fellow darts player Bobby George (right)” class=”blkBorder” />

Legends: Wilson with fellow darts player Bobby George (right)

Fifteen-time world champion Phil Taylor said: ‘Jocky had false teeth. I remember playing snooker with him. He asked someone to clean the white ball and took his teeth out to mark the ball with a great little grin on his face. His smile will stay with me forever.’

When his toothless grin beamed out as a backdrop to Dexys Midnight Runners on Top of the Pops as they performed Jackie Wilson Said no-one had to be told his name. We all knew and we all laughed along.

It is a smile which had not been seen by the world, save for his wife Malvina, since 1996 when he suddenly walked away from darts.

Glory: Wilson twice won the world title

Jocky Wilson

Back in the day: Wilson returned to his home town after retiring from the sport

‘At that time, it was generally accepted among the players that they needed a drink to feel comfortable,’ said Tommy Cox, Jocky’s former manager.

‘Although he never drank away from darts, Jocky did on stage. When he was diagnosed with diabetes, he couldn’t drink. He’d have three pints and he’d be sick for three days. He battled on for six months drinking water at events but he was a shadow of himself. He was embarrassed. He walked away and didn’t tell anyone, not even me.’

Wilson retreated to the Kirkcaldy estate on which he was raised — a recluse who, it is believed, never set foot outside his flat again. For Bristow, his passing was a release.

‘It was sad but it’s nice to see him out of his misery. I’ve been smiling all morning. Mind you, the little sod’s always cost me money and he will now because I’ve got to go out and have a drink for him, haven’t I’

Farewell, Jocky.

Wilson v John Lowe – 1982 Embassy Final

Wilson v Eric Bristow – 1989 Embassy Final

SPECIAL TRIBUTE: Dexy's Midnight Runners famously used a picture of Jocky during a Top of the Pops performance of their hit song Jackie Wilson Said

Tyson Fury relinquishes British and Commonwealth belts

Fury relinquishes British and Commonwealth belts in pursuit of world title fight

Tyson Fury has vacated his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles to end hopes of an all British showdown with David Price.

Fury, who was last seen recovering from a knockdown to beat Neven Pajkic inside three rounds, will now pursue a world title fight.

Price became the mandatory challenger when he destroyed John McDermott in just 73 seconds in Liverpool last month.

It had been anticipated that Fury and Price would meet in May in a long-awaited domestic dust-up that would have breathed life into the ailing division.

Bold ambition: Tyson Fury wants a world title fight

Bold ambition: Tyson Fury wants a world title fight

But Fury, 23, claimed the Price camp turned down an offer of 100,000 earlier this week.

'It's been an honour to have won and held both the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles, but as I'm now currently No 7 in the world it's time to move on,' he said.

'If Price really believed he could beat me the smart move in my opinion would have been to take the great pay day that was offered by my promoter to appear on terrestrial TV.

'I'm really excited about my future plans as I'm doing things differently and currently training like a Trojan in pursuit of becoming heavyweight champion of the world.'

Fury's promoter Mick Hennessy is already looking to the future after confirming the decision.

'We have a great schedule in place for Tyson on Channel 5 and I'm not prepared to have that affected by other promoters, purse bids and titles,' he said.

Looking to the future: Fury's camp claim Price turned down a 100,000 offer to fight

Looking to the future: Fury's camp claim Price turned down a 100,000 offer to fight

'Fury v Price was a quality fight and in my opinion it should go out to the widest possible audience.

'That's why I offered 100,000, which unfortunately was rejected by his promoter Frank Maloney on Monday.

'Tyson's next steps and further information will be announced over the next few days.'

Maloney, meanwhile, had been confident the fight would go ahead.

‘I learned all about the political maneuvering in boxing when taking Lennox Lewis to the world heavyweight championship,' he said earlier this week.

'The Commonwealth mandatory makes it impossible for Tyson to avoid David without dumping both his titles.

‘But that’s just our insurance, because I’m sure Tyson would not want to lose face like that.

'I have to say that I respect him and fully expected him to defend his British title anyway.'

Football League Show under threat by BBC

Movie madness! Beeb to switch off 35 Football League games for Swayze film

The BBC has opted to show movies instead of The Football League Show over the festive period, prompting fears the programme could be axed at the end of the season.

Many fans of the 72 clubs that make up the Championship, League One and League Two have already reacted with dismay that they have been denied a rare snapshot of their sides on national terrestrial television.

Last season, total attendances for Football League matches surpassed those in the Barclays Premier League, with more than 16million tickets sold — 2.5m more than for the top flight of English football.


Why”s it not on telly Birmingham played West Ham in the Championship on Boxing Day

Football League blog

The Football League Trophy, won by Carlisle United, attracted an additional 207,395 spectators and another 354,132 fans watched the promotion play-offs.

Despite being shown after Match of the Day late on Saturday nights, The Football League Show, presented by Manish Bhasin with Steve Claridge in the pundit’s chair, still attracts around two million viewers each week.

But instead of showing League One leaders Charlton twice coming from behind to beat Yeovil 3-2, or what the 27,794 fans who watched Middlesbrough beat Hull City 1-0 on Boxing Day saw, the BBC showed 2006 film The Guardian, starring Kevin Costner.

On January 2, when 35 Football League matches take place, the corporation will screen 1991 film Point Break with Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze after the Premier League highlights programme on BBC One.

Presenter: Manish Bhasin fronts the popular Football League Show

Presenter: Manish Bhasin fronts the popular Football League Show

There will be no The Football League Show on New Year’s Eve and the programme will not return until a Carling Cup special on January 10 followed by a regular Saturday night round-up on January 14.

The decision comes after the BBC’s budget for sport was slashed by 15 per cent, with the organisation only able to offer 10 live Championship games every season.

Bhasin tweeted: ‘Budget decision I’m afraid … but all the goals will be online on the BBC football website’.

Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters’ Federation, said: ‘We would greatly regret the decision if the BBC decided to the end The Football League Show. Already the Premier League dominates a lot of TV coverage and it’s important that we have a proper balance. If it was shown at a more civilised hour, its audience would be even bigger.’

New show: The Football League Show was launched with this advert in 2010

New show: The Football League Show was launched with this advert in 2010

A BBC insider insisted that negotiations to extend the programme’s three-year life beyond May were ‘very positive indeed’ but a spokeswoman for the organisation refused to comment on the future of The Football League Show.

She added: ‘The Boxing Day and January 2 fixtures are outside our contractual obligations. Many factors come into play when planning the busy Christmas schedules and we were unable to do a programme for New Year’s Eve. We will be doing an additional show later in the season.’

This is understood to be on Easter Monday, April 9, when the Football League will be nearing its conclusion.