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Payback ultimatum’ on footy rights

Payback ultimatum' on footy rights

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will demand the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) return funds of 600 million baht if it is unable to fulfil an agreement it made involving the World Cup 2022 broadcasting rights, a source said on Thursday.

The warning came in a letter submitted to the SAT on Wednesday, said the source at the NBTC.

The agreement was aimed at ensuring the public has access to watch the World Cup 2022 matches by giving all broadcasters under the NBTC’s regulation equal broadcasting rights, said the source.

But the SAT has yet to fully honour the agreement signed with the NBTC regarding the so-called “must-carry” rule that gives national broadcasters the right to broadcast the event’s 64 matches, said the source citing the same letter.

The NBTC gave the SAT the 600 million baht when the agreement was signed on Nov 9.

It is understood the NBTC is concerned that True Corporation, which contributed about 300 million baht for the broadcasting rights, has asked the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court to suspend the right for IPTV to broadcast the matches. The NBTC allegedly blames the SAT for the situation.

SAT governor Kongsak Yodmanee said it needs to wait for the court’s ruling before it can do anything about the matter. He expects to have the judgement early next week.

Mr Kongsak said the SAT has strictly followed the rules imposed by the NBTC, and he was not sure if the NBTC’s threat for the SAT to forfeit the 600 million baht was practical or legitimate.

The NBTC’s allowing of the World Cup broadcasting signals to be transmitted through various broadcasting platforms has made it very difficult to prevent unauthorised access to the broadcasts in neighbouring countries, said Mr Kongsak. This has been an issue that has upset Fifa.

“The SAT has been receiving warnings from Fifa nearly every single day about these ongoing violations of the agreement signed by the two parties,” Mr Kongsak said, referring to the same two parties. “And if this problem isn’t taken care of properly, it will be highly likely that Fifa will suspend the broadcasting signals,” he added.

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