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Fifa secretary general confident of ‘compromise’ deal on Russian World Cup rights

Fifa secretary-general Fatma Samoura has expressed confidence that a “compromise” will be reached over broadcast rights to the 2018 World Cup in host nation Russia.

World football’s governing body has so far been unable to broker a rights deal in Russia for the World Cup or the forthcoming Confederations Cup, which is due to kick off in Saint Petersburg on June 17.

Samoura (pictured) told Russian state news agency Tass: “It is not a secret. We are in negotiations on a day-to-day basis. I am sure that we will find a compromise. There will be a middle ground set.”

She added: “We need these revenues because it means also that we will be able to fulfil our commitment toward funding the LOC (local organising committee) budget. But it is not for us, it is for the benefit of the game.”

The Telesport agency is understood to have been negotiating with world football’s governing body since October for the rights on behalf of a consortium of state broadcaster VGTRK; state-controlled commercial broadcaster Channel One; and privately-held broadcaster Match TV.

Fifa is said to be seeking $120m (€111.6m) for the rights, with Russian broadcasters having paid around $32m for rights to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko last week said Russian broadcasters are willing to pay 20 per cent more for the 2018 Fifa World Cup than they did for 2014.

Mutko, who is also president of the Russian Football Union and chairman of the LOC for the 2018 World Cup, told Tass: “Our channels are willing to pay an amount up to 15-20 per cent higher than for the rights to the World Cup in Brazil, there are no questions. But when the price for the rights rises above, the channels will not be able to recoup their acquisition.”

Earlier this month, Mutko criticised Fifa for imposing “special conditions” on the host nation for the events.

Mutko said that as state-controlled broadcasters bidding for the tournament would make a loss on the deal, Fifa is pushing the Russian government to contribute.