Ukraine decides to broadcast Russia's FIFA World Cup, after all
The National Public Broadcasting Company of Ukraine (UA:PBC) has decided to broadcast this summer’s FIFA World Cup, after all, despite the fact that it’s happening in Russia, the country that annexed Crimea from Kyiv. UA:PBC’s decision was motivated by the fact that it doesn’t want to lose its broadcasting rights for the next soccer World Cup, which the company purchased together with the rights to this year’s tournament. The 2022 contest will take place in Qatar.
UA:PBC hasn’t revealed what it spent to acquire the 2018 and 2022 World Cup broadcasting rights, but it's been paying off this purchase in annual installments. After Russia and Ukraine entered a state of de facto war in 2014, UA:PBC started missing these payments, jeopardizing its rights to broadcast the 2022 tournament. In the end, UA:PBC sold the rights to the TV networks NTN and Inter.
In May, Ukrainian lawmakers debated a draft law that would have banned the broadcast of the 2018 World Cup, but it failed to pass. In February, the Football [Soccer] Federation of Ukraine announced that it wouldn’t accredit Ukrainian journalists to report from Moscow this summer. Ukraine’s national soccer team didn’t qualify for the World Cup this year. The tournament started on June 15 and isn’t over until July 15.