Thai court rules against World Cup ‘must carry’ stipulation

The 2014 Fifa World Cup is set to remain entirely on pay-television in Thailand after the country’s Central Administrative Court ruled the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission must exclude the football tournament’s final from its ‘must carry’ list of sporting events.

The case had been filed by RS International, a subsidiary of Taiwanese music and entertainment firm RS, which holds the country’s broadcast rights to the tournament in Brazil.

The NBTC had been seeking to enforce its must carry sports list which outlines that the World Cup final, along with the Southeast Asian Games, Asean Para Games, Asian Games, Asian Para Games, Olympic Games and Paralympic Games must be broadcast on free-to-air television in Thailand.

However, the Bangkok Post newspaper said the court viewed the requirement was illegitimate, but only when it applied to RS International, because the company had bought the World Cup rights before the rule was announced in 2013.

Col Natee Sukonrat, head of the NBTC's broadcasting committee, said the regulator would appeal the decision with the Supreme Administrative Court.