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Russia may not be able to broadcast 2018 World Cup matches to its own people

The tender submitted by Russian broadcasters for Media rights to broadcast next year's World Cup is a third lower than the figure stipulated by FIFA.

An interior view shows the Luzhniki Stadium, which will host 2018 FIFA World Cup matches, in Moscow, Russia, July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

2018 World Cup Russia is less than a year away and many nations, including hosts Russia still have yet to gain an audiovisual rights license to broadcast games live within their territories. As it stands, Russia are a long way off reaching an agreement with FIFA over broadcasting rights for the event.

FIFA World Cup broadcasting rights costs are "inappropriate"

Russian state-owned broadcasters Piervy Kanal (Channel One Russia), Telekanal Rossiya (Rossiya-1) and Gazprom-owned NTV (HTB) formed a consortium for FIFA's tender process of audiovisual rights, but offered a third of the amount requested by world football's governing body. “They demanded 120 million dollars to broadcast the whole tournament, but we do not have that kind of money. At the most we could pay between 38 and 40 million”, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko explained. Alexander Faifman, Head of Production at Channel One, added, “It's an exaggerated, exorbitant amount and completely inappropriate”.

The difference in standpoints, apart from the 80 million dollars which separate FIFA's Sales and Distribution department's demands and the tender offered by Russia's television channels, is complicated by the fact that FIFA have tripled the cost of acquiring media rights since the last World Cup.

In 2014, Brazil's Globo Group had already settled audiovisual rights to broadcast the event nationally eight years in advance. So far 134 nations have acquired broadcast rights of varying levels, some nations enjoying a full package for TV, radio, internet and mobile device rights. Russia is not alone in getting broadcast rights organized. In Spain, Mediaset (Telecinco) and AtresMedia (Antena 3) will go head to head to secure rights to broadcast games in the peninsula. In previous years, Sogecable bought the rights to South Africa 2010 two years before the tournament while Mediaset acquired rights for Brazil 2014 just 12 months in advance. FIFA hope to have the rights tender process closed by the end of this year or the start of 2018.

Broadcasters who will be showing 2018 World Cup

Most countries have acquired their broadcasting licenses. In Germany, 2018 World Cup Russia can be watched on ARD and ZDF; in England, matches will be shown on the BBC and ITV, in France on TF1 and beIN Sports and in the United States by Fox and Telemundo.