Row escalates over FIFA World Cup broadcasting rights

Cable TV service provider Medianet is suing the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) after the commission ordered the company to halt airing FIFA World Cup matches on any channels except state broadcaster Television Maldives and private broadcaster Villa TV (VTV).

Medianet has been airing matches on channels Sony Six, Sony Six HD and Sony Pix under rebroadcasting agreements. But the MBC said only TVM and VTV are authorized to broadcast World Cup matches.

In a letter to the MBC, Medianet’s legal representatives claimed the MBC’s order is unlawful and said a proper investigation must be conducted.

MBC had said Medianet’s agreement with Sony MSM had not been made in accordance with the Maldives rebroadcasting regulations.

MBC also stated that Medianet had charged an extra fee from customers in early June for viewing the matches on channels 100 and 100 plus against the rebroadcasting regulations.

Medianet has accused MBC of prejudice against the company and said it will sue the company and every individual member for damages caused by the commission’s order.

The company filed a case at the Civil Court on Wednesday seeking annulment of the Medianet’s order. According to local media, the judge presiding over the case estimated hearings will be completed by Sunday.

Medianet further stated that the MBC order released wrongful allegations to the public and said the commission’s sudden order issued to halt broadcasting of matches on channels other than TVM and VTV could be interpreted as an attempt to benefit certain parties.

MBC has also responded to the letter sent by Medianet’s legal representative, dismissing the claims that their orders are unlawful. They, in turn, have ordered Medianet to follow their orders without setting further conditions

MBC also stated that Medianet had charged an extra fee from customers for viewing the matches on channels 100 and 100 plus against the rebroadcasting regulations.

It also stated that the commission has received complaints that Medianet had refused to cooperate with repeated requests from TVM and VTV to broadcast their matches in high definition. It advised the company to provide such services to all channels without discrimination.

MBC has further announced on Wednesday that it is opening an opportunity for other interested parties to apply for cable TV provision licenses. Currently the only company providing the service is Medianet.

The commission claimed that it is taking this step to increase competition in the field, which will in turn lead to the provision of better services at more competitive prices to the public.

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Maldives holds India to a draw ahead of Iranian World Cup test

The Maldives national football team came from a goal down to avoid defeat at the hands of India as its prepares for its first qualifying match later this month to earn a spot at the 2014 World Cup tournament in Brazil.

The Maldives is scheduled to face Iran on July 23 for the first leg qualifying match for football’s largest competition, with the return fixture set for July 28.

However, preparations for facing Iran, who last qualified for the World Cup when it was hosted back in Germany in 2006, appeared to get off to a bad start for the Maldives on Sunday (July 10) as India went a goal ahead within 18 minutes during a friendly match at the national stadium in Male’.

According to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Indian Captain Sunil Chhetri opened the scoring for the visitors during the first half after finding his way onto a Steven Dias corner to head his team in front. India were reported to continue to dominate play after taking the lead, yet were unable to build upon the single goal deficit they held over the homeside.

Despite coming near to doubling their lead in the 43rd minute of the match through Jeje Lalpekhlua, India were immediately punished by the Maldives through Mukhtar Nasir, who fired a curling effort over goalkeeper Subrata Pal to round out the first half in a stalemate.

India continued to pressure in the second half with a number of notable chances falling to Lalpekhlua, but the home side held on to secure a 1-1 draw ahead of facing experienced World Cup qualifiers in the form of the Iranian national side.

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