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World Cup TV rights update

The dispute over payment for the rights to broadcast the World Cup 2002 continues, not only in Britain but also in other European countries such as France and Italy.

German media giants Kirch, who hold the global rights, are demanding massively increased fees which they claim reflect the recent boom in televised football. Broadcasters, such as the BBC and ITV in Britain, argue that their demands are exorbitant.

The main problem lies with purchasing the rights to show the whole tournament. Kirch's contract with FIFA states that they must show allow certain matches to be shown. For example, English TV fans are guaranteed to see all games involving England, the opening match, the semi-finals, the third-place play-off and the final itself.

However, the rest of the games which could involve some mouth watering clashes between the likes of Argentina, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

These may end up being sold individually on a pay-per-view basis, which at best will fragment the tournament and at worst will cause many fans to miss out on some of the best moments of the World's premier sporting event.

In Britain this scenario seems unlikely as every single game has to be broadcast free-to-air by law. Unless some new deal is struck the situation, in Britain at least, could quickly become very messy indeed.

11th October 2001


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