A proposal was made to ensure the Commonwealth Games would be on free-to-air television ©Getty Images

A call for the British Government to guarantee the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be shown on free-to-air television has been rejected.

The motion had been put forward to designate the Games as a "Group A listed sporting event".

Group A listed events must have full live free-to-air coverage, with the group including the FA Cup Final, the Grand National, the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games.

The Commonwealth Games is currently listed as a Group B event, which can have live coverage on subscription television provided that secondary coverage is offered to the free-to-air broadcasters.

Labour MP Catherine West proposed a clause be added to the Commonwealth Games Bill which would see the event in England elevated into the Group A list.

Nigel Huddleston, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport, Heritage and Tourism, said the existing list was an appropriate balance.

The Conservative MP added that it would not be appropriate to change the category with a tender process already underway with potential rights holders.

The BBC have been the long-standing rights holder in Britain ©Getty Images
The BBC have been the long-standing rights holder in Britain ©Getty Images

"Free-to-air channels have the opportunity to bid to show live coverage of Group B events and have done so successfully in the past, as with the BBC's live coverage of previous Commonwealth Games held on the Gold Coast and in Glasgow," Huddleston said.

"The Commonwealth Games have been in Group B since the list was put together in 1998 and have had excellent live coverage on free-to-air television, with 35 million domestic viewers in total for the Glasgow Games.

"The event's Group B listing helps to enable extensive free-to-air coverage for the nation and allows the Organising Committee to agree live free-to-air coverage as it sees fit.

"We believe that the current list strikes the appropriate balance.

"Reconsidering which group the Commonwealth Games sit in would not be appropriate, as the Organising Committee is in the middle of a competitive commercial process with potential rights holders, and cannot pre-empt the outcome of those negotiations.

"I am sure honourable members will appreciate that any change to the listed events regime at this time could therefore significantly and detrimentally affect the ongoing negotiations.

"However, I appreciate and share the spirit of the new clause, which aligns with the Organising Committee's vision to ensure Birmingham 2022 is the Games for everyone, with everyone having the opportunity to access and experience them, should they wish to do so."

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games was the 17th consecutive edition of the multi-sport event to be covered by the BBC.

The public broadcaster's relationship with the Commonwealth Games dates back to Vancouver 1954.

The Commonwealth Games will take place from July 27 to August 7 in 2022.