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Astonishing – Murray v Nadal?

THE BBC was forced to apologise yesterday after it was heavily criticised for not showing the opening seven minutes of Saturday’s match between Wales and the All Blacks.
The broadcaster’s decision to stick with Andy Murray’s tennis match against Rafael Nadal on BBC2 meant many fans did not get to see Stephen Jones’ kick which took Wales into the lead in the first minute.
The decision was condemned by politicians and Wales-based BBC staff are said to be “very unhappy”.
A senior source said: “To say we were peeved would be to put it mildly.”
The Welsh Rugby Union will this week ask the BBC for clarification of how the decision was made.
WRU chief executive Roger Lewis said: “We are very disappointed that the BBC decided not to cover the start of the Wales versus New Zealand international live from the Millennium Stadium on their scheduled network channel. This caused widespread disruption and deprived many rugby fans across Wales and the rest of the UK of the chance of witnessing an epic and important element of the match…

“This weekend the pre-match build-up was also particularly poignant as we observed a minute’s silence in remembrance of the 29 men who died in the Pike River Mine explosion at Greymouth on New Zealand’s South Island. The symbolism of that important moment was meant to be shared with as many people as possible.”

He continued: “I acknowledge there was an editorial decision to be taken by the BBC, but the fundamental fact is that millions of people had planned their viewing for the weekend to include the whole of the Wales versus New Zealand match… We enjoy a strong and important relationship with the BBC and will endeavour to continue to make every effort to ensure that partnership is mutually beneficial, but I cannot ignore our sadness and disappointment on this occasion.”

And also from Mr Lewis:

“My concern is this action was symptomatic of an increasing marginalisation of Wales by decision makers in London”

Read Roger Lewis’s Western Mail piece here Why we must challenge London’s view of Wales…it’s more than about Rugby…

…However the fundamental questions which arise from the weekend are of concern to us all in Wales.
The creeping perception of the irrelevance of Wales in London by the media and for that matter by the politicians must be addressed
The voice of Wales, our voice, must be heard. It must be heard in Wales and in the corridors of the decision- makers and opinion formers in London as well as in Cardiff.
If we want Wales to win, not just in rugby but beyond the field, we all have to take responsibility.
We have to take responsibility for ourselves.
And that means convincing the powers that be, wherever they are, to have confidence in us and our abilities to make the right decisions.
To do that, we must have the confidence in ourselves.
All of us in Wales, in whatever walk of life, must be prepared to take control of our own destiny.

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  • Rory Carr

    While understanding of Mr Lewis’s ire at the decision to stick with the closing minutes of the Murray-Nadal match it has to be considered that had the BBC abandoned the tennis in order to switch to the Wales – New Zealand Rugby match then they would have had to face an awful lot of abuse from angry tennis fans, not just from the rest of the UK but also from tennis fans in Wales who could rightly have pointed to the availability of the opening moments of the rugby on S4C or via the red button technology.

    It was a difficult decision for the BBC Fat Controller to call and for many rugby fans without access to either S4C or the red button it was possibly even cruel.

    Cruel but fair, as Monty Python had it in his Kray Brothers spoof.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Seems like poor planning unless there was some massive overrun in times. Not quite as damaging as ITV(HD) going to the ads just in time to miss the England goal against the US in the world cup.

    But Dewi, lets be honest Wales (or Ireland) versus the ABs is a bit of dead rubber anyway.

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    Wasn’t it available via the red button anyway?

  • John D

    As an Anglo-Welshman married to a tennis (and Strictly Come Dancing) fan, I was reduced to trying to watch the opening minutes of the game via computer — where it seemed there was no red button available. And S4C didn’t appear to have the game available online.

    Yes, it was a dilemma for the BBC fat controller — but the tennis could surely have displaced whatever witless stuff was on BBC1 at the time, I’d have thought.

    A dead rubber, Sammy? It doesn’t work quite like that in the minds of Welsh rugby fans.Every time there’s the thought “Maybe this time…” plus memories of Llanelli beating Seland Newydd 9-6 (was it? I’m sure Dewi could correct me if I’m wrong) back in the 1970s

  • Dewi


  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    John D,

    and Munster 12-0 in ’78.

    ..and yes sometimes even dead rubbers do bounce.

  • John D

    Actually, looking at the BBCtv schedules, it would have been a simple matter — switch the end of the Murray game to BBC1, postpone the news (scheduled for 5.15) until the tennis finished, and drop or curtail the following programme, which was a repeat anyway.

  • Dewi

    Astonishingly we actually kicked off at the strange time of 5.15 at the request of the BBC…see update above.

  • bingostar

    ‘BBC viewing public of Wales, & the rest of the UK…stuck with a semi-final tennis match… from the London O² Arena.’

    While some comments by Mr Lewis may be valid but any argument to ‘London’ is only weakened & will be viewed as a regional inferior complex by the following unbalanced arguments:

    1. It was a semi final of a competitive tennis match, not a rugby friendly (albeit a bit of a money making exhibition like the Race to Dubai/Fedex Cup in golf, or dare I say Anglo- Welsh cup in rugby)

    2. Andy Murray is Scottish, not from London, and once infamously, if tongue in cheek, anti English.

    3.The whole rugby match was on S4C & BBC red button (& website/5Live). lots of other ‘minority’ (in terms of total licence fee income) interests do not have that option

    4.37-25 ‘the most closely- fought Test match this autumn’???* They were showing the exciting end of a ‘closely fought’ tennis match only missing an early 3 point ‘1st minute lead’ for Wales. To paraphrase a sporting cliche, Wales were ahead in the sprint, not the marathon.

    5. Are all celtic (not English) internationals not now shown on terrestrial TV at separate times throughout UK, (not simultaneously in separate regions) & (with this small exception) in its entirety, & certainly competitive ones, six nations/world cup?

    Wonder if he would feel the same if a nationally broadcast show he enjoyed had been replaced with a regional dating show with the Welsh version of Christine Bleakley (Alex Jones) & May McFetteridge (answers on a post card)?

    *Closer autumn internationals in terms of score (got bored after one weekend. You can look up the rest yourself,

    Saturday, 27 November 2010
    England 11 – 21 South Africa
    Italy 24 – 16 Fiji
    Scotland 19 – 16 Samoa
    Gavin Henson Bottom 2 of Strictly Come Dancing