Ukrainian public-service broadcaster UA:PBC has said it will not broadcast the 2018 Fifa World Cup, despite holding rights to the national team football tournament.
This summer’s World Cup takes place in neighbouring Russia and UA:PBC chairman Zurab Alasania told national daily newspaper Uriadovy Kurier that the decision was taken as part of its efforts to become a “benchmark” for other broadcasters in the country.
Alasania said: “We have decided not to show it. This is a serious deal that costs millions. The broadcasting rights were bought before 2013. This is a difficult decision. Can the PBC show the World Cup in Moscow? No.”
Alasania added that other media companies in Ukraine that had coverage agreements for the World Cup have also decided against using their rights after learning of UA:PBC’s stance.
News agency Interfax-Ukraine said Ukrainian Youth and Sports Minister Ihor Zhdanov has called on fans not to travel to Russia for the World Cup, while the Football Federation of Ukraine has waived its quota of tickets for the tournament and has refused to accredit journalists for the event.
Ukraine failed to qualify for the World Cup, which will run from June 14 to July 15.