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BBC Director-General Greg Dyke has slammed FIFA for selling the rights of World Cup 2002 to the highest bidder.
Speaking to a European Union Broadcasting Conference in Brussels, Dyke branded football’s international governing body (FIFA) as ‘hypocritical’.
Dyke said: “More than 20 million people in the UK watched the key matches in the 1998 world Cup in France. It is audiences like these that persuaded European and British legislators that there are some events, which are so much a part of the fabric of life, that they should be universally available – without payment – to all television viewers. The World Cup tournament is one of these events.
“Yet the owners seem intent on frustrating those decisions. They’ve asked UK broadcasters for a fee for the 2002 World Cup which is 40 times that paid for the 1998 contest. They seem set to deprive all British viewers of their chance of seeing all of the contest.
“The BBC and ITV have made what we regard as a fair and reasonable offer which is still massively more than we paid for in 1998. Yet the Kirch organisation, who owns the rights, rejected this and is now planning an auction of the rights in a way likely to counter the intentions of the listed events legislation in the UK.
“Of course the real villain of the piece is FIFA who sold to Kirch instead of the EBU. If you contrast the actions of FIFA with the International Olympic Committee, which has ensured the Olympics have remained universally available, the comparison is stark.”(AMcE)
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