RTR have acquired both the television and the radio broadcast rights for all matches of the tournament in the Russian language. RTR is the region’s state broadcaster and the agreement will ensure extensive free to air television and radio coverage of the 2006 event.

RTR will take the majority of matches live on its main channel, reaching the maximum audience. Following the popularity of the 2002 FIFA World Cup broadcasts, RTR has since launched its own successful dedicated sports channel RTR Sports.

This additional channel offers another platform to further increase coverage of the World Cup in Russia. It is expected the sports channel will be used extensively, offering viewers further options as to when and how to view the event.

Oliver Seibert, an executive director of Infront, FIFA’s television partner, said: “The sale of 2006 FIFA World Cup broadcasting rights is now substantially complete. As of January 2005, completed sales levels were at 85 per cent in Europe, 100 per cent in South and Central America and 90 per cent in the Pacific region.”

Recent deals were struck with ESPN STAR Sports of Asia, BK Telekom for rights in Serbia and Montenegro and Macedonia, M-League Marketing of Malaysia and German pay-TV company Premiere Fernsehen.