​Cafés in Vietnam must seek FIFA permission for public viewing of World Cup: state broadcaster

‘VTV did not purchase the rights to air the World Cup games in public places,’ a VTV official explained

People watch a football game at a coffee shop in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Owners of cafés and restaurants across Vietnam have to seek approval from the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) before treating their customers to the 2018 World Cup matches, a senior official of national broadcaster Vietnam Television (VTV) has said.

VTV announced on June 7 that it had signed an agreement to broadcast Russia 2018 matches in the country, just a week before the event kicks off.

Vietnam was the last country to obtain broadcasting rights to this year’s largest football competition, according to FIFA.

As of Thursday afternoon, as the opening of the football fiesta is only a few hours away, restaurants and coffee shops throughout the country were busy finalizing their preparations to let customers enjoy the football games while eating and drinking.

Just like previous World Cup and Euro seasons, managers of these venues would prepare large TV screens or projectors to show the matches that are broadcast live on state television.

However, Nguyen Ha Nam, a senior VTV official, announced on Thursday that such public viewing could infringe the 2018 World Cup copyrights, which belong to the FIFA.

Nam underlined that owners of diners and cafés must obtain approval from the world football's governing body in order to let customers watch the event live on their premises.

“VTV did not purchase the rights to air the World Cup games in public places, thus individuals or organizations in the country must seek permission from FIFA to do so,” Nam elaborated.

He, however, failed to provide the instruction on how to contact a FIFA representative to ask for their approval.

“We will discuss the matter with [FIFA] and will make further announcements later,” Nam said.

An owner of a beer bar in Hanoi expressed his concern and confusion following the announcement from the VTV official.

“My shop has long been a favorite place for local football lovers to gather during such special occasions as the World Cup,” the owner said.

“I have no idea how to obtain such permission from FIFA.”

Meanwhile, regulations regarding public viewing rights on FIFA’s official website highlighted that “Non-Commercial Public Viewing Event,” meaning the exhibitor does not in any way gain commercial benefit from staging the games, does not require a license.

Public viewing events in commercial establishments such as bars, restaurants, or cafés are considered Non-Commercial Public Viewing Events unless additional commercial activities, namely direct or indirect admission fees or sponsorship activities, take place, according to FIFA.

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