Protest lodged over match allocations

Protest lodged over match allocations

The Association of Digital Television Broadcasting (ADTEB) is standing firm on its criticism of the Sports Authority of Thailand's (SAT) allocation of World Cup 2022 matches, which it had previously blasted for being unfair.

In a petition to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) protesting against the allocation yesterday, the ADTEB once again called the SAT's decision to award True Corporation -- a major sponsor behind the purchase of the 1.4-billion-baht broadcasting rights for the World Cup -- the right to pick up to 32 matches it wants to air ahead of other broadcasters "completely unfair".

The sponsors' cash was needed to meet the funding gap that had threatened to jeopardise any prospect of watching the World Cup in Thailand. The NBTC had already spent 600 million baht out of its research and development fund, but it was still way short of the 1.6-billion-baht price Fifa had initially demanded. When it became apparent that the price would not go below 1.4 billion baht, the SAT was forced to find sponsors to plug the gap with just three days left before the matches kicked off on Sunday.

True Corporation was allowed to pick first as it had contributed 300 million baht to help the SAT buy the rights -- almost half the 700 million baht provided by private sponsors towards the purchase. The company which makes Chang mineral water and PTT Plc also contributed 100 million baht each, the source said.

Responding to the petition, SAT governor, Kongsak Yodmanee, yesterday said the agency's decision to award True Corporation first pick of the matches was fair. The main sponsor deserves priority, he said, adding that the rights to the other 32 matches were awarded to 17 TV channels in a draw.

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