Fiji TV seeks government guidance over IRB rights deal

Fijian commercial broadcaster Fiji TV has said the country’s Communications Ministry is in talks with the International Rugby Board over the status of its rights deal for the IRB Sevens World Series following legislation that has been passed concerning the broadcasting of major events.

Fiji TV currently holds the rights to the Sevens World Series, with the 2014-15 season due to commence in Australia on October 11-12.

However, Fiji’s new Television Cross Carriage of Designated Events Decree states that important events must be shown on all free to air channels by Fiji TV and commercial rivals Mai TV and FBC TV.

Sports events deemed to be ‘designated events’ include the Sevens World Series, along with the Rugby World Cup in sevens and 15-a-side formats, Rugby League World Cup, Fifa World Cup, Netball World Cup, Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, South Pacific Games, Mini South Pacific Games and the Coca Cola Games.

According to the website, Fiji TV chief executive Tevita Gonelevu said the broadcaster is not allowed to share coverage of the Sevens World Series under the terms of its agreement with the IRB.

He said Fiji TV has provided its contract with the IRB to the Communications Ministry and has asked the Ministry to liaise with rugby union’s world governing body.

Fiji finished third in the 2013-14 Sevens World Series, behind champion New Zealand and South Africa.