PM asks that national football matches be aired live nationwide

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Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung asked on Thursday that the telecast copyright issues be resolved so that all national football matches could be broadcast live nationwide.

An urgent document by the Prime Minister said, "The Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism should give directives to concerned agencies to solve obstacles to ensure that the national football matches be aired live, continuously and nationwide to meet the needs of the people."

In response to the Prime Minister's request, the General Department of Physical Training and Sports asked the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) to report on the number of the country's top-flight Super League matches which were broadcast live in the first two rounds [the past two weekends].

The General Department and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism have also asked the VFF to send documents asking local football stadiums to facilitate TV stations to broadcast matches in the third round of the Super League live.

To Van Dong, spokesman of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said, "The Ministry will follow the Prime Minister's document and will do what is asked before reporting the results to the Prime Minister."

Vietnamese football underwent a major change last month with the task of organizing national football competitions passing from the VFF to the Vietnam Football Professional (VFP) JSC, which has on its board officials of the federation as well as owners of individual football clubs.

Before the mantle passed on to the new company, the VFF had in late 2010 sold television rights to Super League matches to a media company called An Vien Group (AVG). The two sides signed a 20-year agreement for VND6 billion (US$286,000) per year.

Officers of the VPF claimed the agreement unreasonable and refused to honor the agreement.

VPF Chairman Vo Quoc Thang on Wednesday sent a document to the Prime Minister and other relevant ministries and agencies, asking the Prime Minister to consider the situation and examine the legality of the agreement between the VFF and AVG.

VPF also sent a document requesting that the organizing committees of stadiums and TV stations follow the Prime Minister's directive and that TV stations intending to broadcast matches live to register for that in writing two days in advance.

AVG later on Wednesday issued a press release, saying it would not comment on the document by the VPF. It also said it would strictly comply with the Prime Minister's instruction.

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