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Uncertainty looms over match telecast
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | March 15, 2004 11:20 IST
Last Updated: March 15, 2004 15:11 IST
Confusion still prevails over whether cricket fans in India will be able to watch live on television the one-day cricket match between India and Pakistan to be played in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.
Earlier reports had said that television channel Ten Sports on Monday morning had agreed to provide conditional live telecast to Doordarshan for the one-day international cricket match between India and Pakistan on Tuesday, after the Supreme Court directed it to do so.
But a Ten Sports statement has given a new twist to the telecast tussle.
The Indian distributor of Ten Sports, the exclusive telecast rights holder of India-Pakistan matches, gave a veiled threat that no signal may come to India for the matches after the Supreme Court directed it to give the telecast signals to Doordarshan.
Taj TV Private (India) Ltd, Ten Sports' Indian distributor, told the Apex Court said that it does not own the rights over the telecast signals generated from Pakistan and giving simultaneous telecast feed to Doordarshan was a breach of its contract with the original telecast rights holder, Taj TV Private Ltd, Dubai.
It, therefore, expressed apprehensions that the signals of live telecast may not be shown in India at all.
The Apex Court had earlier laid down three conditions:
Doordarshan has agreed to deposit Rs 10 crore guarantee money.
"We are depositing the money as per the direction of the Supreme Court of India," K S Sarma, Chief Executive of Prasar Bharati, told rediff.com after the court passed the orders.
Asked if viewers would be able to see the match, Sarma said that this question should be directed to the Ten Sports which holds the telecast rights.
"We are obeying the court order. It is for Ten Sports to decide whether they would part with the signals or not," he said.
Meanwhile, Parveen Pariekh, advocate on record for Ten Sports, claimed that his client is in no position to assure the Indian public whether or not they would be able to see the match.
"The telecast rights are held by the Taj TV Sports, a Dubai-based company. If we get signals from them we would telecast the same otherwise we would be helpless," Pariekh told rediff.com in New Delhi on Monday.
He claimed that Doordarshan had made Rs 10 crore by showing advertisements and not carrying the ads of the Ten Sports during the telecast of the Karachi match on Saturday. "If this trend continues, we will lose Rs 200 crore (Rs 2 billion) by the end of the series," Pariekh said.
The final hearing in the case will be on Wednesday, March 17.
The directive was passed by a three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice V N Khare, on the petition filed by the Ten Sports which had appealed against the directive of the Madras high court. The three-judge bench also included Justice Santosh Hegde and Justice S H Kapadia.
Earlier, Chief Justice V N Khare reprimanded Doordarshan at one stage of the hearing. "We are here to protect the rights of the people, not just those of Doordarshan," Justice Khare observed during two-hour hearing of the case.
Ten Sports Chief Executive Officer Chris McDonald, who was also present at the hearing, declined to make any comment on the matter later.
Harish Salve appeared for the cable operators, while Attorney General Soli Sorabjee held the brief for Prasar Bharati.
The live telecast of Saturday's (March 13) first ODI between India and Pakistan came through at the last moment when Ten Sports gave an undertaking to the Supreme Court saying that it will provide the television feed to Doordarshan.
Additional inputs: PTI
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