Egypt still in talks with FIFA to broadcast national team games at 2018 World Cup

Al Ahram

An official at Egypt's state television said that direct negotiations with FIFA are still ongoing to obtain the terrestrial broadcasting rights of the national team games at the summer World Cup in Russia, which kicks off in June. Hesham Rashad, Egypt's Television Vice Director of Sports Programs, said the country's National Media Authority (NMA) has opened talks with world governing body FIFA, echoing statements made by sports minister Khaled Abdel-Aziz last month.

Qatari TV network beIN Sports has already obtained the exclusive rights to broadcast World Cup matches for the Middle East and Northern Africa region on its satellite channels but Egypt still has a chance to air the games on terrestrial television. "The NMA is not entering negotiations with the Qatari beIN Sports network, which owns the exclusive rights to broadcast the World Cup, but rather with FIFA, in order to obtain the rights to broadcast the Egyptian national team games in the tournament," Rashad was quoted as saying by local media.

The rights currently under negotiation include the opening, semi-final and final games plus the matches of fellow Arab teams, according to Rashad. Hamdi El-Konaisi, head of Egypt's Press Syndicate and NMA member, said that the authority is exploring all options to obtain the rights to broadcast Egypt's World Cup games "so that the Egyptian people may enjoy the tournament free of charge and without resorting to any encrypted paid channels".

FIFA, through several companies, sold the broadcasting rights for the World Cup to more than 60 broadcasters across the world. Egypt, who are seven-time African champions, qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 28 years and will be in Group A alongside hosts Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia.