FIFA and UEFA lose TV battle

2011-02-17 12:40

Brussels - European Union countries can keep all Soccer World Cup and European Championship games on free-to-air television after a high court challenge by FIFA and UEFA failed.

The football governing bodies wanted to sell the exclusive rights to most games to the highest bidder, including pay TV channels, arguing that broadcasting rights constitute a major source of their incomes.

However, the General Court of the European Union said the World Cup and European Championship were "single events" that could not be divvied up at will.

FIFA and UEFA can appeal the decision, but only on the points of law, not on the principles of the case.

EU nations can designate certain sports events to have such social and cultural significance that they can force organisers to sell rights to free-to-air companies only.

The football federations had acknowledged that the most popular games, like the final and the opening matches of the World Cup and European Championship, merited being broadcast on free-to-air television.

But the court said that it cannot be anticipated which game will be important for which country, allowing for member states to give the whole tournament special status.

EU Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said "this is good news for people who want to watch important sporting events on television without having to pay for it."

UEFA said it would study the ruling before commenting further.

The football federations had challenged the system in Britain and Belgium. The British Conservatives welcomed the ruling.

"We need to ensure that the crown jewels of our national sports are accessible to everyone. I hope that FIFA and UEFA will not appeal this ruling," said MEP Emma McClarkin.

McClarkin said every single game has prime viewing interest.

"Group matches could be very important to other countries towards the end of the group stages. England fans will want to watch the other matches across the groups to see who their team may be playing in the knockout stages.

"These matters are in the national interest and they should be free for the nation to watch," she said.

Read more on:    uefa  |  fifa

WRAP: Champions League

2014-10-22 23:00


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring


Red Bull Lionheart trail run - not for the fainthearted!

Entries are open, so what are you waiting for?


Where were you when you last felt alive?

Adventure holidays for your bucket list
Top 10 water sports to try before you die
6 impressive camping tips
LOL! The 8 stages of marathon running
Love 2 Meet

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

Who is the best new player in the English Premiership this season?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.