Last week , Iran’s national TV Legal Adviser accused the Singapore based World Sport Group of extortionate policy over the broadcast right of FIFA World Cup qualification matches. WSG is an Asian Football Federation partner and has the right to sell the matches under a long term agreement which includes Asian clubs competitions in addition to the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Gholamreza Rafiee, the jurisconsult of IRIB, discussed the recent problems between Iranian television and World Sport Group over buying broadcasting rights of Iran’s national football team in World Cup qualification matches. In the weekly popular program hosted by Adel Ferdowsipour , Rafiee accused the other side of ask far too much for broadcasting rights which is breaching international rules.
“Four years ago at the same time we paid $4 million to broadcast Team Melli matches in World Cup qualification. But now World Sport Group wants to charge us over $40 for the same service. We paid $7.5 to broadcast World Cup 2010 and we bought the London 2012 broadcasting right for only $1 million. World Sport Group is trying to swindle Asian countries for broadcasting World Cup qualification matches.” Said Gholamreza Rafiee during the live TV show watched by million of Iranian TV viewers.
“Lebanese television also didn’t buy the broadcasting right of the match between Iran and Lebanon. The same problem has occurred for South Korea.” Gholamreza Rafiee added.
World Sport Group angered many Asian football fans by increasing the price of the broadcasting rights for the AFC World Cup Qualifiers 2014.
Veteran journalist and soccer scholar James M. Dorsey has recently published a report about the controversial $1 billion contract between AFC and World Sport Group. Dorsey has revealed an unexplained payment of $14 million to Mr. Bin Hammam by one of the company’s shareholders. His statements are backed by formal and reliable documents. WSG has filed a complaint against the reporter in Singapore High Court.
WSG reacted to those accusations by sending a formal statement on this subject to Kabir News, in which Shyamala Velappan, Communications Manager of WSG, said:
“World Sport Group strongly refutes the claims made by Mr. Gholamreza Rafiee in the media this week with regards to the cost of broadcast rights for the FIFA World Cup 2014 – AFC Qualifying Rounds. The information Mr. Rafiee has presented is incorrect and misleading. Firstly, the previous agreement to broadcast various AFC events for the period 2009 – 2012 was valued at US$4.5 million. The broadcast rights fee which we are negotiating with IRIB for the new cycle is US$11 million for all AFC national team and club competitions, which consist of approximately 1,300 matches over a four year period, not just the FIFA World Cup 2014 AFC qualifying matches. To put this figure into context, it represents only a tiny fraction of the rights fees being paid by other countries in the Middle-East for the same number of matches.”
Despite the refusal to pay for the broadcast rights, Iran’s national TV broadcast the 30 minutes delayed match by using Al Jazeera Sport TV signal.
WSG Nature of Business
Singapore-based World Sport Group is Asia’s leading sports marketing, media and event management company. WSG manages almost 600 days of sports events and produces more than 5000-hours of sports programming annually in 30+ countries across the region including the Barclays Singapore Open, AFC Asian Cup and AFF Suzuki Cup. It also owns the global media rights for the Indian Premier League and is a member of the Singapore Sports Hub Consortium.