FIFA and UEFA will appeal a ruling guaranteeing free-to-air television broadcasts of the World Cup and European Championships.
World Cup games will continue to be shown on free-to-air channels in the UK and Belgium unless the appeal succeeds. (Getty Images)
Both governing bodies are taking their cases to the European Court of Justice after a February decision by the European General Court prohibited exclusive pay-TV deals for the tournaments in the UK and Belgium, according to a BBC report.
The 27 European Union member states are allowed to draw up a list of sports events of national interest to broadcast on free-to-air channels under an EU directive.
In the UK, these “crown jewels” include the FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championships, which will be in Poland and Ukraine next year, alongside other major events like the Olympics and the Wimbledon tennis championships. For Belgium, it’s the World Cup.
FIFA and UEFA have twice argued – first to the European Commission and then to the European General Court – that some of the less important games at the FIFA and UEFA finals, including those not involving the home nations in Britain’s case, could be sold to the highest bidder.
But both courts dismissed the arguments on the grounds that it could not be known in advance – at the time when the national listed-events were drawn up or broadcasting rights acquired – which matches would actually be decisive for the latter stages of the tournaments or which ones may affect the fate of a given national team.
Now it’s up to the European Court of Justice, the continent’s supreme court, to weigh in with final say.
A spokesman for the European courts told the BBC appeals processes are taking upwards of one-and-a-half years, so it could be a while.
Chinese Super League Secures US Broadcaster
A sports network based in Dallas will bring Chinese football to its North American fans.
One World Sports has added the Chinese Super League to its portfolio of Asian football. (Getty Images)
The deal provides for One World Sports to air weekly
matches throughout the Chinese Football Association Super League’s current season. The coverage will come across three platforms.
“The Chinese Super League rights secures our dominant and exclusive position in delivering the three best soccer leagues in Asia to US audiences,” said Preston Bornman, president of One World Sports parent company One Media Corp.
“As with our other great soccer and sport products, the CSL will be available live on TV, broadband and mobile to U.S. sports fans.”
Four of the CSL’s 16 sides play in the 2011 AFC Champions League, though China failed to advance past the knockout stage at January’s Asian Cup, a competition also broadcast stateside.
“This is part of our commitment to extend coverage of the league to wider audiences around the world,” said Mark Hardess, ASEAN and Australia president for World Sport Group, the AFC’s exclusive marketing partner.
The CSL deal follows similar ones made by One World Sports with the Korean K-League, Japanese J. League and AFC Champions League.
New Arrangement for Polish Football
A French cable company now owns the TV rights to Poland’s top football league.
“The Ekstraklasa clubs unanimously accepted the offer of Canal Plus Digital, granting the license for the television rights of live matches of the 2011/2012, 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 seasons,” reads a statement posted to the first division’s website.
“The accepted agreement has established the granting of sub-licenses to Polsat Digital and the Eurosport channel.”
According to Polish media, Orange Sport and Canal Plus shared a sub-license under the previous arrangement.