THAI FOOTBALL fans will be able to enjoy live coverage of the Russia World Cup for free through True4U (Channel 24), Amarin TV (Channel 34) and Channel 5, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said yesterday.
Prawit, also president of the Sports Authority of Thailand Commission, told reporters that Thailand had secured broadcasting rights for the World Cup, which kicks off on June 14 and ends July 15.
The total Bt14 billion needed to pay for the broadcast licence was raised by nine companies – BTS Group Holdings, Thai Beverage, Charoen Pokphand Group, Gulf Energy Development, Kasikorn Bank, King Power International, PTT Global Chemical, Bangchak Corporation and Carabao Group.
“The government is pleased to announce to Thai people that, through Infront Sports & Media AG, owner of the broadcasting rights in Asia, an agreement with the International Football Federation [Fifa] for the rights to live broadcast the 2018 World Cup tournament has been successfully secured,” said Prawit.
However, the deal took longer than expected to clinch as King Power, which was in charge of initial negotiations, was recently notified that Fifa would only execute deals with broadcast operators. As a result, cable and satellite TV operator True Visions was appointed to replace the duty free business operator and represent Thailand in negotiations to ink the deal.
To comply with the government’s “Must Have” policy, which states that Thais must be able to watch major sporting events like the World Cup free of charge, fans will now enjoy live broadcast of every World Cup match, spread over the three channels.
“Thai people can be sure that they will be able to enjoy watching all of the 64 World Cup matches this year for free,” Prawit said.
The deputy prime minister also said he hoped fans would refrain from gambling on the tournament.
The programme of daily broadcasts will be revealed later.