True open to reallocation of matches

True open to reallocation of matches

Rivals can share 16 World Cup games

The Sports Authority of Thailand holds a press conference on the live broadcasting of World Cup 2022 matches on Sunday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
The Sports Authority of Thailand holds a press conference on the live broadcasting of World Cup 2022 matches on Sunday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

True Corporation has no objection to the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) reallocating a quota of football World Cup matches.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) on Tuesday discussed the matter with SAT representatives following a complaint by the Association of Digital Television Broadcasting (ADTEB).

Acting NBTC secretary-general Trairat Viriyasirikul said after the meeting that the two agencies asked True to return a broadcast quota of 16 Word Cup matches for reallocation so other digital TV channels can broadcast them in parallel with True which owns True4U, a digital channel that has been awarded the rights to broadcast 32 of the 64 World Cup matches.

"True has no objection. The SAT will now make a decision on the reallocation," Mr Trairat said.

Teeradet Dumrongbhalasitr, co-president at True, confirmed that True has allowed the rights to 16 Word Cup matches to be granted to other digital TV channels.

These include the opening and final matches which will be aired in parallel with the T Sport 7 channel.

The right to view the matches via online platforms will need to comply with copyright laws and rules stipulated by the football governing body, Fifa.

Regarding a petition lodged by True seeking the NBTC's permission to broadcast World Cup matches in high definition (HD) format instead of standard definition (SD), Mr Trairat said the matter will go before the NBTC today.

Speaking after the meeting, SAT governor, Kongsak Yodmanee, said that the SAT was willing to listen to suggestions and tried to find the best solution to ensure a fair allocation of World Cup matches.

The ADTEB had previously criticised the allocation of World Cup 2022 matches for being unfair.

In a petition to the NBTC protesting against the allocation on Monday, the ADTEB once again called the SAT's decision to award True -- a major sponsor in the purchase of the 1.4-billion-baht World Cup broadcasting rights -- the right to pick up to 32 matches "completely unfair".

Sponsors' cash was needed to meet the funding gap that had threatened to jeopardise the prospects of watching the World Cup in Thailand. The NBTC had already spent 600 million baht, but it was still way short of the 1.6-billion-baht price Fifa had initially demanded.

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