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Russian stakeholders lament rights talks for 2018 World Cup

Stakeholders in the process to assign rights in Russia to the 2018 Fifa World Cup and the forthcoming Confederations Cup have claimed world football’s governing body is asking for too much for a deal in the host nation for the two tournaments.

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.

Fifa told Bloomberg that talks are ongoing, but the news agency said the federation is seeking $120m (€110.3m) for the rights, more than three times the Russian fee for rights to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“If Fifa is waiting for someone from the government to come out with a bag of money and pay them, it might be a while before there’s a deal,” Petr Makarenko, the head of Telesport, told Bloomberg. “It’s not unusual for prices to go up for each tournament, but not by 200 per cent.”

Channel One’s general producer Alexander Fayfman told Russian news agency R-Sport: “In terms of Russian realities the price is absolutely inadequate, so the opportunity to pay it in Russia is not there.”

He added: “There is no difference between how many channels divide this sum or the number of games. In my opinion, the price should be reduced greatly, and the rest is a matter of negotiation.”

Tina Kandelaki, general producer at Match TV, told Russian news agency Tass: “The situation is coming to the final stage and I think the outcome will be prosperous, because there is no chance that our viewers will not see matches of the World Cup and the Confederations Cup.”

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