Boost for women’s sports as camogie and women’s football finals deemed free-to-air
Games join Olympics and World Cup as deemed to be ‘of major importance to society’
Cork celebrate with the O’Duffy Cup after their victory in 2015. The All-Ireland camogie final has been designated free to air. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
The All-Ireland senior women’s Gaelic football and camogie finals have been designated as free-to-air events for Irish television viewers.
In a boost to the status of women’s sport, the finals have been deemed to be “events of major importance to society” under the Broadcasting Act 2009.
It means the finals will have protected status. They join a list of events including the Olympics, the World Cup, the European Championships and the senior football and hurling All-Irelands which must be shown on free-to-air channels.
The initial decision to include the All-Ireland senior ladies’ Gaelic football and camogie finals was made last year, but it had to go to the European Commission for approval.
It follows a three year review of the sporting events which must be shown on free-to-air television.
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten said the designation reflects the fact that both finals have a “distinct cultural importance for the people of Ireland”.
He added: “I have always been adamant that ladies football and camogie be treated equally with men’s football and hurling and today’s announcement recognises that equality.”
Ladies Gaelic Football Association’ president Marie Hickey said the announcement illustrates how far the sport had come and “how hard our players, volunteers and administrators have worked to achieve this recognition”.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Communications said the issue of the free-to-air status of the Six Nations rugby did not arise at this time. It remained free-to-air until 2021 at which point a decision would be made as to whether or not it would retain that status.
Euro 2020 finals
Meanwhile, RTÉ, which recently lost the Six Nations television rights to TV3, announced on Wednesday it had secured exclusive free-to-air broadcast rights to the Republic of Ireland’s qualifiers for the Euro 2020 finals and the World Cup finals in Qatar in 2022.
RTÉ shared the rights to the previous Euro qualifiers with TV3.