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RTE nets World Cup for cool £2m

RTE has secured a cut-price deal for the rights to screen the entire 2002 FIFA World Cup - which could make Ireland the only country in these islands to screen the competition on terrestrial television.

The national broadcaster has paid around £2m for the rights to screen the complete package to the German Kirch Group, who own the World Cup transmission rights.

British broadcasters BBC and ITV have joined forces in an attempt to negotiate a deal of their own with Kirch. But the Germans want £170m from them, and the English firms said they are not willing to pay more than £50m.

Kirch only have an obligation to broadcast free on terrestrial television the opening game, the two semi-finals and the final. The remaining 60 matches are up for grabs.

Kirch are also selling the rights to broadcasters elsewhere in Europe. The Spanish rights have been sold for £119m and to Germany for £76m, while the rights packages for Malta, Finland, Slovenia, Cyprus and Holland are for a further £28m.

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