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Mutko hits out at Fifa’s stance on Russian World Cup rights

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has added to the criticism of Fifa regarding the sale of domestic broadcast rights to the 2018 World Cup and 2017 Confederations Cup, stating world football’s governing body is imposing “special conditions” on the host nation for the events.

Mutko (pictured), who is also president of the Russian Football Union, told the Tass news agency that as state-controlled broadcasters bidding for the tournament would make a loss on the deal, Fifa is pushing the Russian government to contribute.

Stakeholders in the process to assign rights in Russia to the World Cup and the forthcoming Confederations Cup last week claimed world football’s governing body is asking for too much for a deal.

The Telesport agency is understood to have been negotiating with Fifa 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.

The Bloomberg news agency said Fifa is seeking $120m (€110.3m) for the rights, more than three times the Russian fee for rights to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“Russia is under special conditions because when the rights for (the 2014 World Cup in) Brazil were being sold, the dollar was worth about 30 rubles and now it's just under 60,” Mutko said. “You buy the rights in foreign currency, but you sell advertisements for rubles, so television is supposed to make a loss?”

Fifa on Friday announced a loss of $369m for its 2016 financial year and is projecting an even bigger loss in 2017 as it seeks to accommodate a change in its reporting method and the knock-on effects of the corruption scandal within world football’s governing body.

Mutko said Fifa is imposing pressure on Russia because “if you look at their finances, you'll see that after the scandals, there are problems.”

The 2017 Confederations Cup is due to kick off in Saint Petersburg on June 17 and will run through to July 2.