Egypt demands FIFA to air 2018 World Cup matches

Ahram Online, Wednesday 13 Jun 2018

Fifa Headquarters
File Photo: A general view shows FIFA headquarters (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) has demanded that interim measures be taken against FIFA, and that FIFA make broadcast rights immediately available for the 22 matches of the 2018 World Cup, in a statement issued late on Tuesday.

The decision came after FIFA failed to respond to the Egyptian National Media Authority (NMA) request to air the matches on their terrestrial channels.

A three-minute YouTube video details the demands issued by the ECA's board of directors, which were posted online on 10 June 2018.

The first condition stated that "FIFA shall cease and make void the decision not to grant the right to broadcast 22 matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia to the NMA, as well as any effects of this decision"

The second was that "FIFA, the sole entity holding the rights to award terrestrial broadcasting licenses, must make available to the National Media authority a total of 22 matches, to be broadcast on reasonable financial terms."

Third, that "rights granted shall cover the territory of the Arab Republic of Egypt only."

Fourth, that FIFA would to grant Egypt the right to cover live transmission of the licensed matches without repeats or highlight coverage.  

Fifth, that the right shall cover only free terrestrial channels, with no satellite, internet or mobile transmission rights.

"All broadcasting shall be in Arabic only," was the sixth and final decision.

No clear penalties were stated by the NMA to be issued in the event that FIFA does not abide by the conditions.

The authority highlighted that the international football organizing body have infringed Egyptian competition law on five grounds, including awarding a monopoly, the absence of fair, transparent and non-biased tendering procedures, the violation of FIFA's own licensing procedures, and discrimination between countries.

The ECA said that the fulfillment of these conditions would ensure compliance with competition and intellectual property rights laws established worldwide.

Egypt has been working on finding a way to broadcast the matches since FIFA sold the 2018 World Cup broadcasting rights to the Qatari sports channel beIN Sports.

Since 2017, Egypt and other countries in the region (Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain) have effected a trade and diplomatic boycott on Qatar due its alleged "funding of terror".  

Subscription fees for beIN channels costs hundreds of Egyptian pounds: a luxury which, amid current austerity measures and price hikes, could leave many Egyptians unable to afford watching Egypt's national team as they participate in their first World Cup competition for 28 years on Friday.


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