Stop free footie airing, judge says

An Administrative Court judge has concluded that the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission's (NBTC) announcement which requires all matches of the 2014 Fifa World Cup to be broadcast on free-to-air TV should be revoked.

The judge's opinion is not a final ruling but, in most cases, the Administrative Court would follow it.

If the court eventually rules in line with the judge's proposal, those hoping to watch the World Cup matches free of charge on free-to-air TV will have to pay to view them instead.

The judge in the case said that the plaintiff, RS International Broadcasting and Sport Management which is the broadcasting rights holder of the 2014 Fifa World Cup, would be damaged by the NBTC's "must-have" announcement.

In the judge's opinion, the company is exempt from the rule because it secured the contract before the NBTC issued the announcement. The firm signed the contract giving it the rights to broadcast the World Cup on Sept 12, 2005 while the must-have rule took effect in 2008.

If the NBTC contends that the World Cup is a popular sport which everyone should be able to watch, the state should buy the broadcasting rights itself instead of forcing a private operator which has paid for the rights to broadcast it publicly, the judge said.

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