Rugby's annual Six Nations Championship is upon us once again, involving England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy.

But why, even if two British teams are playing each other and when it is the British people who pay the BBC's licence fee, does the BBC insist on weighing the players in kilograms, a measurement the vast majority of the British don't understand, rather than stones (st) and pounds (lb)? Distances in soccer are measured in yards in Britain, so the BBC should also stick to Imperial measures for rugby.

Metric Maulers: Why does the BBC insist on weighing the British rugby players in kilograms?

By Miles Goslett
14th February 2009
Daily Mail

The BBC has been criticised for using metric measurements in its coverage of the Six Nations rugby championship – even when two British sides are playing each other.

BBC Sport, which broadcasts each match of the historic tournament featuring England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy, provides on- screen graphics about players’ weights throughout matches to help show which team is heavier.

But the Corporation has admitted it does not give these statistics in stones and pounds because the imperial system of weighing is meaningless outside Britain.

Weight for it: The BBC sums up the Welsh scrum using kilograms

The Six Nations is watched by 4.5million viewers in the UK, but the BBC fears imperial statistics would confuse overseas audiences who watch the fixtures via their own country’s domestic channels using the Corporation’s footage.

During last Sunday’s game between Scotland and Wales, for example, which was played at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, on-screen statistics described Wales player Martyn Williams as weighing 101kg, while his team-mate Adam Rhys Jones was listed at 129.3kg.

Under the imperial system, Williams weighs 15st 9lb, while Rhys Jones weighs 20st 3lb.

Critics claim the BBC has abandoned the priorities of those who fund it – licence-fee payers – in favour of people watching the matches overseas who make no financial contribution to the Corporation.

Conservative MP Philip Davies, a member of the House of Commons Culture Committee, said: ‘This is Euro-creep and the BBC’s explanation for it shows what an arrogant institution it is.

‘If the worldwide audience paid the licence fee, there would be a reason for having the weights listed in metric as well as imperial. But it’s obviously just British people who pay the licence fee.

The BBC has clearly forgotten it is only able to bid for the rights to rugby matches in the first place thanks to licence payers.’

Head of the Metric Martyrs campaign group Neil Herron said: ‘The BBC should cater for its domestic audience first and foremost instead of forcing them to watch games of rugby with a calculator by their side so they can work out how heavy a prop forward is.’

As well as being screened in France, Italy and Ireland, which introduced metric measurements in 1969, it is understood the BBC’s coverage is also provided to the southern hemisphere, where the Six Nations tournament is closely followed.

A BBC spokesman said: ‘We’re the host broadcaster for the Six Nations so the BBC’s match coverage, which is the world feed, has the stats in metric.

Everyone else apart from the UK uses that measure.

‘Statistics made solely for domestic coverage are given in imperial but any stats on the domestic feed that are also on the world feed will be in metric. It’s always been like this.’

Philip Davies added: ‘I’m willing to bet any BBC executive that for most British people watching these games, weights in kilos will mean nothing.’


The BBC are supposed to be the British Broadcasting Corporation, not that you would ever know it. I don't care if foreigners don't understand Imperial measures, we in Britain do so they should stop trying to indoctrinate us otherwise. They have the same arrogant attitude with distances and temperatures. We measure in feet, inches and miles and not in silly metric measures. Similarly with temperatures, we measure those in Fahrenheit and not clumsy, less accurate Celsius or Centigrade and that is despite the efforts of the BBC for over 30 years to pretend differently.

The BBC will use any excuse it can dream up to impose it's dreams of Internationalism on us. It's time they were told to stop their nonsense and to cater for the public of Britain who they are meant to be broadcasting to.

Jimmy R, Scotland

Sadly the BBC have lost all credibility of logic.

The rugby weights should be in Stones and Pounds. We are in the UK not in France or Italy.

They need to watch Sky in how to present a sports programme.

Pip Waller, North Yorkshire

I haven't got a clue what kilograms are, and even as a young fella of barely 30 I cannot fein an interest in understanding them either - I get stones and pounds, or just pounds without the stones. Irrelevant outside Britain? What does that first B in the BBC stand for again?

Steve Jacks, London