Paralympics to join TV free-to-air 'crown jewels' list

Great Britain's Kadeena Cox wins the gold medal in the women's 400m T38 final at the 2016 Rio Paralympics
Kadeena Cox became the first Briton since 1988 to win two golds in two different sports at the same Paralympics with victories in athletics and cycling at Rio 2016

The government is set to add the Paralympics to the 'crown jewels' list of sports events that must be screened live on free-to-air television.

It will be given the same status as the Olympics and other events including the men's football World Cup, Grand National and Wimbledon finals.

The government also wants to look into adding football's Women's World Cup and Women's FA Cup to the list.

It is the first time the list has been updated for 20 years.

It follows record television audiences for the Women's World Cup when it was broadcast on the BBC this summer.

Channel 4, meanwhile, has shown the last two Paralympics and will do the same next year in Tokyo.

England's win in the men's Cricket World Cup final was broadcast live on Channel 4 on Sunday after an agreement from Sky, who owned the UK rights to the tournament.

However, there are currently no plans to add live cricket to the list.

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"Sport has a unique power to unite the nation," said Jeremy Wright, secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport.

"But to maximise its ability to inspire, our sporting crown jewels must reflect the diversity of sporting talent we have across the country.

"Adding the Paralympic Games to the list rightly puts it on the same footing as the Olympics.

"I also want to see greater equality in the coverage of women and men's sport on TV. Later this year, I will consult on adding the equivalent women's events to the men's events already on the list."

Officially known as the Ofcom Code on Sports and Other Listed and Designated Events, the so-called 'crown jewels' list was first created in 1991. It was then revised in 1999 and split into two categories, A and B, with events on the A list being those which must offer live rights to free-to-air broadcasters at a "fair and reasonable" cost. Events on the B list must offer highlights packages.

Category A events: Olympic Games, men's World Cup, European football Championships, FA Cup final, Scottish Cup final (in Scotland), Grand National, Derby, Wimbledon finals, Challenge Cup final, Rugby World Cup final.