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Fifa moves to deny World Cup rights reports

World football’s governing body Fifa has denied reports that German public-service broadcaster ZDF’s coverage of the 2014 World Cup will be available to viewers in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

Pay-television broadcaster beIN Sports is Fifa’s exclusive media rights partner for this summer’s national team tournament in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

Reports had suggested that ZDF, which holds Germany’s rights to the World Cup alongside fellow public-service broadcaster ARD, had elected to broadcast the competition on an unencrypted basis potentially providing customers of the Eutelsat Hot Bird satellite television operator access to its broadcasts – albeit in the German language.

However, Fifa said in a statement: “Fifa would like to reiterate that contrary to some reports about the 2014 Fifa World Cup coverage in the Middle East and Northern Africa, including statements attributed to ZDF, Fifa’s broadcast partner in Germany, ZDF will not be broadcasting matches unencrypted on the Eutelsat Hot Bird satellite platform during the 2014 Fifa World Cup.

“ZDF/ARD are media rights licensees for the 2014 Fifa World Cup for the German territory only. As such, their broadcasts will be available in the German language and restricted to Germany. BeIN Sports is the exclusive media rights licensee for the Middle East and Northern Africa. Any broadcast of the 2014 Fifa World Cup by any Fifa Media Rights Licensee is intended for the territory or territories as listed in its agreement with Fifa.”