Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Consumers have to pay extra to watch FIFA World Cup

Nepali television viewers have to pay extra to watch the world cup football unlike previous years, according to an apex court decision.

The Supreme Court today issued a ruling in support of imposing extra charges on customers to give them access to the live broadcast of the FIFA World Cup 2022.

An advertising agency, Media Hub had earlier claiming that it has obtained exclusive broadcast rights to the FIFA World Cup, has decided to collect Rs 565 extra (including VAT) per set-top box stating that domestic advertisements do not cover their costs. 

But advocates Kishor Poudel and Anupam Bhattarai filed a writ petition stating that Nepalis didn’t have to pay extra to watch previous World Cups. They also claimed that the additional fees this time was unlawful. On November 8, a single bench of Justice Prakashman Singh Raut has issued the interim order asking the concerned not to charge the customers until the final verdict is made.

But justice duo Prakash Kumar Dhungana and Manoj Kumar Sharma today said that there is no need to continue the short-term interim order issued on November 8. “Watching the World Cup football by paying extra is not a regular but an optional issue for the viewers,” reads the Supreme Court verdict. The matches will be shown live on Himalaya TV.

There also appears to be an option in the agreement between Himalaya TV and Media Hub that some important matches would be broadcast free of cost, which means that customers, who do not pay extra too can watch at least four important matches. 

“We welcome the court’s verdict,” said marketing director at Media Hub Siddhartha Dhital. “All the work for broadcasting the world cup matches had been halted after the court’s interim order,” he said, adding that they will now work 24/7 to ensure the broadcast. 

The 2022 FIFA World Cup – to be hosted by Qatar – kicks off from November 21, and will continue until December 18. A total of 64 matches will be played during a month-long championship. The first match will be played between the host Qatar against Ecuador. Worldwide, billions of soccer fans watch the live coverage of the four-yearly football extravaganza on TV.

According to Dhital, Worldlink and Vianet Communication, two of the leading internet and television services providers, have already signed agreements with Media Hub to broadcast the matches.

Claiming that Media Hub has bid for the broadcast rights for around Rs 250 million for the month-long event, Dhita,l said that an additional Rs 150 million will be spent for promotion and technical support. 

For the first time in history, a Middle Eastern country is hosting the World Cup football. 

According to the international media reports, the Qatar World Cup will be the most expensive event as it will cost around $220 billion to Qatar, some 20 times more than the cost of last World Cup in Russia. Criticising the high prices of the tickets to the World Cup matches football fans around the world accused FIFA.

The most expensive tickets on general sale for the December 18 final at Lusail Stadium cost 5,850 Qatari riyals (£1,179), which is 46 per cent higher than the £807 ticket price for the 2018 final match that France won.

Reuters reports that While fans in Russia paid an average of 214 pounds for a seat, tickets to matches in Qatar cost an average 286 pounds, according to a study by Keller Sports.

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