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As digital sports video becomes increasingly pervasive, semantic video summary becomes one of the important components for the next generation of multimedia applications. Ontology is a feasible way to mine the semantic information from the video stream. However, current ontology-based methods did not concentrate on the effectiveness and soundness of semantic reasoning. Here, the authors propose a content-directed ontology reasoning approach to produce meaningful sports video summarisation. The proposed ontology can facilitate the metadata acquisition of video and the improvement of query performance. It also provides a flexible way to query the sports video database, which cannot be achieved by simple keyword search. For annotating, describing and managing the sports video content, we propose a sports video descriptive language (SVDL) based on the proposed ontology. Moreover, the semantically meaningful sports video abstraction is produced by reasoning engine which is based on the extension of the Tableau algorithm. Meanwhile, the soundness and completeness of the reasoning algorithm can be solidly proved. Subjective assessment experimental results reveal the reliability and efficiency of the propose scheme.