Restrictions surrounding the rights to the Rugby World Cup have forced Sky to pull popular Australian sports television show the Back Page from airwaves.

The humorous programme usually aired on a Tuesday evening and its sudden removal had fans on social media bewildered about its disappearance.

However, because Fox Sports Australia, who produced the show, had rights to the Rugby World Cup and its footage and Sky did not, it was prohibited.

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In New Zealand, Spark Sport owned the rights to the Rugby World Cup and content of the tournament could not be used without their permission.

"We're working on a solution and hope to have an update on this soon," a spokeswoman for Sky told the Herald.

There was an exception when it came to the purpose of telling news.

Hosted by Tony Squires, Back Page aired a round-up of the previous week's sporting news in Australia.

Squires was regularly joined by a roster of panellists, including former Australian cricketer Kerry O'Keeffe and journalist Kelli Underwood.

And while the programme wouldn't be aired during the World Cup, other Sky programmes were, including Big in Japan, the Sky spokeswoman said.

"Our regular Crowd Goes Wild show is also on the ground in Japan and Sky Sport News is showing limited match coverage as part of its news segments.

"Sky's other rugby shows, Rugby Nation, the Breakdown and Kick-Off are also focusing heavily on news from the New Zealand players, coaches and families."


Elsewhere, Sky was seeking shareholder approval to enter a deal worth more than $235m with Sanzaar for five-year rights to All Blacks, Super Rugby and Mitre 10 Cup games from 2021.

The minimum $235m price tag represented more than a quarter of Sky TV's $839m revenue for the 2018 financial year.

Sky would not comment on the status of its negotiations to the Herald, citing commercial confidentiality.