Nepali Times
Olympic TV rights row rumbles on

SYDNEY - Organisers of the Sydney Olympics have insisted once again that foreign media without exclusive broadcast rights who are unhappy with the arrangements for coverage of the Games should shut up or put up.

Organisers are refusing to consider altering a regimen intended to protect the $ 705-million investment US broadcaster NBC has made to gain exclusive broadcasting rights for next month\'s sporting extravaganza.

The arrangements mean that around 150 foreign television organisations will have to compete in a daily ballot for eight passes to Olympic Park to cover news events at the main stadium and other principal venues.

Organisers insist that only NBC and rights-holding Australian broadcasters have guaranteed access to Olympic Park. CNN, Reuters TV, ESPN, Fox and other non-rights holders have threatened to downgrade their coverage unless the rules are relaxed.

The European Union has weighed into the dispute, warning Canberra that it risks an action in the World Trade Organisation if the dispute is not settled soon. EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy has written to Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaille that favouring some broadcasters represents a breach of WTO obligations.
While Vaille has yet to reply to that letter, organisers have said that the International Olympic Committee, not the Australian government, is the appropriate focus of any complaint.

Earlier this year, US Olympic Committee spokesman Mike Moran said organisers should not be interfering in media rights issues. This is absolutely daunting for them if this isn\'t solved. ESPN CNN, Fox and some others simply may not come to the Games," he warned.

But a spokesman for the organisers said NBC must have their sponsorship investment protected and that the present arrangements were fair to all concerned.
Sydney\'s Olympic network clicks on
SYDNEY - Australia\'s biggest phone company on Sunday switched on the Sydney Olympic telecommunications network that provides voice, data, video, mobile and trunk mobile radio services for next month\'s Games.

Telstra Corp, also responsible for beaming the Olympics to the world, said its Millennium Network would service 35 competition venues, three Olympic villages, the International Broadcast Centre, the Main Press Centre and more than 50 noncompetition venues.

Building the network required 4.800 km of optical fibre, 30,000 new phone and fax lines. 3,200 audio links, 280 video links. 60 private cable TV channels and reception for 15,000 mobile phones.

In Atlanta in 1996 five companies were responsible for providing the telecommunications infrastructure.
FIFA rejects South African appeal
ZURICH - The world football body FIFA rejected an appeal by South Africa against the 6 July vote for the 2006 World Cup host which they lost to Germany. But the FIFA executive body agreed in principle to rotate World Cup tournaments among their six confederations from 2010 on.

Many football officials have called for such a rotation system, which first has to be approved by FIFA\'s strategy committee made up of FIFA boss Joseph Blatter and the presidents and deputies of the confederations.

Pressure increased after the controversial 6 July vote by the executive board where Germany was awarded the 2006 event with a 12-11 margin at the expense of South Africa.

South Africa lodged an appeal a week before claiming irregularities during the voting process, but that was rejected on 3 August. Blatter said the vote had taken place according to the rules and called the South African protest "inappropriate".

On the same day, the executive board selected Spain to host the second world club championship 2001 with 12 teams, four more than at the inaugural event in January in Brazil. The 2000 Confederations Cup is set to take place in South Korea and Japan as a test run for the 2002 World Cup which takes place in the two Asian countries.

Qualified for this eight-team event are the two hosts, title holders Mexico and the confederation champions France, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada and Australia.
Iranian footballer accuses club of slavery.
TEHERAN - Iranian footballer Sirus Dinmohammadi has said he returned to play in his home country because his former German second division club Mainz 05 treated non-German players like "slaves."

"German clubs, especially in the second division, treat non-German players like slaves and offer contracts which are just unacceptable," Dinmohammadi told the Teheran daily Javan, while rejecting reports that his return was due to integration problems in Germany and because he was home-sick.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)