TV rights for World Cup secured
Thai Olympic chief Gen Prawit to announce details of B1.4bn deal on Monday
>>Thailand has finally secured the 2018 Fifa World Cup broadcast rights after the country's football-mad fans had been kept in suspense over the outcome of negotiations for a long time.
Details of the deal will be announced by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon at a press conference on Monday, Sports Authority of Thailand governor Sakol Wannapong said in a statement.
It is reported that True and Amarin TV will show all 64 live matches of the 2018 finals to be held in Russia from June 14-July 15.
However, some reports say the military-run Channel 5 will also be a broadcaster of the tournament.
Nine companies helped fund the broadcast rights, which cost about 1.4 billion baht.
They are King Power Group, CP, Thai Beverage, Kasikorn Bank, Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS), Gulf Energy Development, PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC), Bangchak Corporation and Carabao Dang.
It is believed that King Power, CP, Kasikorn Bank, BTS, Thai Beverage and Gulf each invested 200 million baht, PTTGC 100 million baht and Bangchak and Carabao Dang 50 million baht each.
The broadcast deal was sealed just weeks before the World Cup begins because potential buyers were scared away by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission's (NBTC) regulation which states that live major sporting events such as the World Cup and the Olympics must also be aired on free TV.
The obstacle prompted SAT governor Sakol to intervene and he reportedly asked Gen Prawit, who is also president of the National Olympic Committee of Thailand, for help.
Initially, there were seven partners but a state enterprise then withdrew from the group for fear that it could be criticised for using public funds.
In came Advanced Info Service (AIS) which was later left out because of conflict of interests with another mobile phone operator in the group, sources said.
All World Cup matches have been shown live in Thailand since the 1990 finals.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday tweeted his support for the North American bid for the 2026 World Cup and issued a veiled threat to nations that might oppose it.
Morocco is the only rival to a joint bid to stage the event from the US, Canada and Mexico, with the Fifa Congress due to choose the hosts in Moscow on June 13.
"The US has put together a STRONG bid w/Canada & Mexico for the 2026 World Cup," Trump tweeted.
"It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the US bid. Why should we be supporting these countries when they don't support us [including at the United Nations]?"
Mexico's president Enrique Pena Nieto responded positively to Trump on twitter.
"We can have differences but football unites us. Together we support the candidacy of Mexico, Canada and USA as the headquarters of the World Cup 2026," he wrote.
Fifa did not immediately respond to a request for comment but spokesman for the tri-nation North American bid said they were pleased to have the support of Trump.
The North American bid is no certainty to win the June vote. The Morocco bid is expected to receive strong backing from Fifa's African and Middle East countries.
The US previously hosted the World Cup in 1994. bangkok post/reuters