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Cost-cutting measures force ERR to give up World Cup rights

Estonian public-service broadcaster ERR is seeking a buyer for its rights to the 2014 Fifa World Cup football tournament after electing to concentrate its resources on next year’s winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

In September, ERR made a request to the Estonian government for €800,000 ($1.09m) in additional funding.

However, the request was rejected and the broadcaster now faces “deep budget cuts” in 2014, according to the Sport.err website.

“We don't have enough money in next year's budget to cover the expenses on the two major events, the football world championships and the Sochi Winter Olympics,” Margus Allikmaa, the chairman of the management board of ERR, said. “To be able to keep the expenditures and revenue in balance in the 2014 budget and also maintain all programme services at existing volumes, we must forgo the rights to the football world championships. Giving up the rights is not easy and the only possibility is to sell them to another nationwide channel. This is so that Estonians could still be able to see the football and we could get to a balanced budget.”

Along with television rights, ERR also holds internet and mobile rights to the World Cup. However, as these rights would cost around €600,000, Allikmaa said ERR would try to sell them to privately-held channels.

“Tallinn TV has expressed the strongest interest, but I still hope that private channels will think about their possibilities,” he added.