Indian government overrules ICC over TV rights

Published: Friday, October 21, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:The Indian government said that satellite TV channels screening cricket matches involving India will have to share the feed with the state-run terrestrial broadcaster, brushing off objections from the ICC.

The decision to make it mandatory for satellite channels to share their pictures with Doordarshan, India's only terrestrial network, was made at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The order, applicable to both local and international TV companies, also applies to national and international sports events held in India and abroad.

"The sports channels having TV broadcasting rights shall, with immediate effect, share their feed with state-run Doordarshan for national and international sporting events held in India or abroad," federal information minister Jaipal Reddy told reporters on Friday.

"In case of cricket events, these shall include all matches featuring India and the semi-finals and final of international competitions."

Seventy-five per cent of the revenue generated from the telecast will go to the rights holder while Doordarshan will retain 25 per cent, the government ruled.

The ICC had said on Thursday it had written a letter "to the Indian Prime Minister concerning moves to give Indian terrestrial television preferential treatment".

However, it did not reveal the letter's contents.

The Indian cricket board has been unable to sell its lucrative TV rights on a long-term basis due to legal wrangles between competing private TV channels.

With time running out, the cricket board earlier this week sold TV rights for two upcoming limited-overs series at home against Sri Lanka and South Africa to Doordarshan for approximately 20 million dollars.

The government diktat means Doordarshan will not have to bid for TV rights for sports events involving India.

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