TV dispute set to deprive fans of Belarus-Spain

Spanish fans are in danger of missing the national team's World Cup 2014 qualifier away to Belarus later on Friday as no television broadcaster has agreed to pay the price set by rights holders Sportfive to show the match in Spain.

Mediaset Espana's Telecinco channel typically broadcasts the world and European champions' away matches but by Friday morning had failed to reach a deal with Sportfive, part of France's Lagardere media group.

Mediaset's director of sports Jose Javier Santos told Spanish radio on Thursday that Sportfive's original asking price was three million euros and that had later been cut to 1.5 million euros.

Mediaset's offer was "a long way from that", he said, adding that as far as he knew no other broadcaster was bidding.

Local media reported it would be the first time a Spain World Cup qualifier had not been shown on national TV.

A Spanish football federation (RFEF) official, who was not identified by name, was quoted as saying in As sports daily on Friday that they hoped a deal was still possible.

The situation had arisen because declining advertising revenue and the economic crisis had reduced the amount of money broadcasters can spend on buying the rights to sports events, the official added.

"It worries me that people in Spain might not be able to see the match and follow their national team and it would leave a bad taste," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque told a news conference in Minsk on Thursday.

Sportfive could not be reached by telephone on Friday and did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.


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