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October 8, 2018 10:43 am

Israeli Broadcasting Authority Battling Football Association for Right to Show Games in Judea, Samaria

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Soccer fans carrying an Israeli flag at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia Photo: Reuters/Henry Romero. – The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has refused to allow Israel’s national broadcaster, Kan, to broadcast the World Cup and Euro 2020 soccer games to Israeli television sets in Judea, Samaria or eastern Jerusalem, saying it will not agree to Israel broadcasting its games in the “Palestinian territories.”

As a result, Kan may refuse to enter into an agreement, making the games unavailable in Israel except to cable-TV and satellite-TV subscribers.

According to a report in Yediot Achronot, Kan bid NIS 21 million ($5.8 million) for the rights to show Israel’s games in the early rounds of the popular soccer competitions.

But the contract UEFA wants to sign with Kan through an American bidding company specifies that matches can only be broadcast inside the so-called Green Line, the area that constituted the State of Israel prior to the 1967 Six-Day War.

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Sources in Kan told Yediot that a Qatari company bought rights to broadcast matches in the “Palestinian territories, among other locations in the Middle East and North Africa.”

The broadcast authority that had planned to provide the matches with Hebrew commentary on Channel 11 and Arabic commentary on Channel 33, and only to Israeli residents, has been attempting to negotiate with UEFA for almost a year. Last year, Israel was able to secure the rights it requested, but UEFA had worked with a different, European company.

“The broadcasting authority will only sign a contract that allows it to broadcast to all Israeli citizens whether in Hebrew or in Arabic, regardless of where they live,” Kan told UEFA, according to the report.

Two Israeli matches that are qualifiers for the UEFA Cup are scheduled in the next few days are not on Kan’s broadcasting schedule.

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