The Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports is struggling to scramble for the remaining one billion baht to purchase the broadcasting rights for the Fifa World Cup that will kick off in Qatar from November 20th to December 18th, or less than a week from today (November 14th).
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) approved only 600 million baht for the ministry to finance the purchase of airing rights for the World Cup matches, while Fifa has set the price at 1.6 billion baht.
Subsequently, this left the ministry chaired by Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn with few options, and according to recent reports, the Authority of Tourism and Sports of Thailand (SAT) is negotiating with Fifa to drop the price tag on its broadcasting rights for the 2022 World Cup matches.
Fifa, in the meantime, has yet to respond to the request officially, although unofficially have reportedly balked at the request.
In addition, a well-informed source from the government said that Minister Pipat has an idea to propose to the Cabinet to borrow 600 million baht from the Sports Development Fund to support the purchase. The fund is authorized to buy broadcasting rights for sports events at which Thai athletes compete, according to Pipat.
However, Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan who oversees the Sports Development Fund reportedly disagreed with the idea, so it is still unclear whether Minister Pipat will still raise this idea in the Cabinet meeting on November 15th.
It is also reported that three private companies have provided 400 million baht to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to buy the broadcasting rights, but would still leave the Thai government short.
As of press time meetings behind the scenes between all relevant parties were taking place, with a deadline of Sunday, November 20th, to secure the rights. If the rights are not secured, Thailand will miss out on the world cup on free television, the only country in Southeast Asia to do so.