Fifa and Uefa have lost an appeal against a European ruling that the World Cup and Euro Championships should be shown on free-to-air TV in the UK.
In 2011, the European General Court said the UK could keep the events on a list of "protected" events of national sporting interest broadcast for free.
It means the two tournaments cannot be sold exclusively to pay-TV firms.
Fifa and Uefa had appealed, after saying they could not sell the events fairly for their real value. ...
See the whole story here, courtesy of the BBC.
Kicking Back Comments: There is a (business) part of me that feel for FIFA in this case. They legitimately own the rights to the World Cup and as such can reasonably exercise these rights as they see fit within legal and moral bounds.
Also, FIFA certainly has the right to make money, while I typically don't like how they use it, there is nothing to stop them from exercising this commercial right in a way they want, not just to a public broadcasting outfit. It is reasonable they could make more from a pay-per-view channel.
The argument that won the day was interesting. It was a "crown jewel" argument where the World Cup is such an event, a "crown jewel" of sport that it MUST be free for all (i.e. on a non pay channel). Similar to the Olympics or other such World Wide events (Le Tour?) it must be free for all.
It's a great argument, and one that I agree with.
It is ironic too, as FIFA has done a tremendous job marketing The Game around the world. So good in fact, they made the case against themselves here.