‘North Korea not watch­ing World Cup il­le­gally’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FOOTBALL -

NORTH KOREA this week se­cured le­gal rights to air World Cup matches live, ac­cord­ing to Asia’s broad­cast­ing union, who deny the com­mu­nist state had pi­rated a record­ing of the open­ing fix­ture.

Ac­cord­ing to South Korean broad­caster SBS, the North’s Korean Cen­tral Broad­cast Ser­vice (KBS) aired the 1-1 draw be­tween South Africa and Mex­ico with­out per­mis­sion.

But the Asia-Pa­cific Broad­cast­ing Union said North Korea – whose team is com­pet­ing at the World Cup for the first time in 44 years – had used le­gal footage “right from the start” fol­low­ing a deal be­tween the union and Fifa.

KBS is a mem­ber of the TV union, which has agreed with Fifa to air the tour­na­ment live in six other im­pov­er­ished coun­tries – East Ti­mor, Laos, Kyr­gyzs­tan, Ta­jik­istan, Turk­menistan and Uzbek­istan.

“We have signed a con­tract with Fifa on June 11, just be­fore the open­ing game started, to broad­cast the matches live in North Korea,” a spokes­woman at the Kuala Lumpur­based broad­cast­ing union told AFP. “Right from the start, North Korea has been us­ing the feeds from Fifa legally.”

SBS main­tains it holds the broad­cast rights for the en­tire Korean penin­sula.

North Korea had wanted the South to pro­vide free footage, as with the 2006 tour­na­ment in Ger­many. But SBS said last week ne­go­ti­a­tions with the North over a fee had bro­ken down. – The Tele­graph

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