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Thailand’s NBTC seeks return of $16m spent on World Cup rights

The National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission of Thailand (NBTC) has given the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) until 21 December to return the 600 million baht (US$16 million) the regulator granted to SAT to purchase the 2022 FIFA World Cup broadcast rights for Thailand.

According to the NBTC, SAT has breached the “must-carry” rule, which stipulated that all members of the public in Thailand be granted access to all 64 matches of the World Cup on all free TV platforms, including Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), APB+ reports.

With IPTV platforms still drawing blank screens, the NBTC has demanded that SAT return the full sum of 600 million baht and said a warning was issued in writing to SAT in November, before the World Cup started, to ensure that all matches are made available to all free TV platforms, including IPTV.

In response, SAT Governor Kongsak Yodmanee rejected the NTBC’s charge that the “must-carry” rule was violated and claimed that SAT had strictly complied with the rule and all other NBTC regulations.

The 600-million-baht fund is just a portion of the 1.6 billion baht (US$37.5 million) that FIFA charged Thailand for broadcast rights to the Qatar World Cup.