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Bilingual bonus: Free Wales Six Nations games in Welsh language ‘non negotiable’ says WRU boss

26 Mar 2021 2 minutes Read
Picture by Chris Brown (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Chief Executive of the Welsh Rugby Union has said that ensuring that Wales’ Six Nations games are available in the Welsh language is a “red line” in discussions over TV rights.

Steve Phillips said he would not support a new TV deal for the Six Nations tournament that didn’t ensure all games involving Wales were shown free-to-air on S4C.

There is speculation that Six Nations games could go behind a paywall now that Six Nations Rugby Ltd has struck a £356m deal giving venture capital firm CVC Partners.

But Steve Phillips said that it was “non-negotiable” that Welsh language broadcaster S4C would have rights to show Wales games live, but only through the medium of Welsh.

“We are going to market on the Six Nations and the international season in November, but it is absolutely critical that we land S4C coverage here,” he told Business Live.

“That is non-negotiable for Six Nations and I think all my colleagues in the other unions have made it very clear on that as well. We have taken a similar view with the Pro-14.

“So, S4C having Welsh rights is fundamental to us and also for the autumn. If you remember, Wales played England at Parc y Scarlets in the autumn and you could watch that on S4C or Amazon.

“We’re open to bringing pay TV and we’re open to it staying on free-to-air. It’s getting the balance right. It’s not all of one or all of something else. I expect we could end up with a hybrid.

“It’s the commercial premium of pay TV versus the mass audiences of free-to-air. It’s getting the balance, which is the trick here. It’s not the maximum commercial deal, it’s a minimum.”

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