Rights deal missing for Spain World Cup qualifier

The Spain national football team’s Fifa World Cup qualifying match at Belarus on Friday might not be available on Spanish television due to broadcasters refusing to pay the €1.5 million ($1.94 million) rights fee.

According to Spanish newspaper AS, broadcasters have said that agreeing to pay that amount would ensure that the coverage was “far from profitable” even though the Sportfive agency, which is selling the rights to the game, has dropped its asking fee from €3 million.

Spanish law requires all national team football matches to be shown on free-to-air television. The Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF), the Spanish football federation, is said to be trying to broker a solution, even though it is not responsible for marketing the team’s away games.

Meanwhile, Leopoldo Gonzalez-Echenique, the president of Spanish public-service broadcaster TVE, wants to negotiate a lower rights fee for the broadcaster’s coverage of Spain home international and friendly matches in the next contract, according to Spanish newspaper El Economista.

TVE has a five-year deal, which started in 2008 and is due to expire at the end of 2012, with the RFEF, worth a reported €43 million per year.

TVE is looking to save about €50 million, following government-imposed cuts which will reduce the broadcaster’s budget to €941.6 million for 2013.