VGTRK: We won't broadcast PyeongChang games without Russian team
Russian state television claims it will make good on its threat not to broadcast February’s winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang in the absence of the Russian team, despite the fact that some ‘clean’ Russian athletes will compete, albeit not in the name of Russia.
VGTRK, the All-Russia State Broadcasting Company, was yesterday quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying: “We do not change our position: we will not broadcast the 2018 Olympic Games in PyeongChang in the absence of the Russian national team there.”
Yesterday, the IOC said that selected ‘clean’ Russian athletes will compete in the games in PyeongChang, but only under the name ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’, wearing uniforms bearing this name, and competing under the Olympic flag, with the Olympic anthem to be played at any ceremony.
The IOC also suspended the Russian Olympic Committee, excluded Vitaly Mutko, the former Russian sports minister, now deputy prime minister, from all future Olympic Games, and suspended Alexander Zhukov, the Russian Olympic Committee president, as an IOC member, in the wake of the doping scandal at the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi.
VGTRK’s Russia 1 was among three Russian channels in line to broadcast the games, along with the state-controlled Channel One, and the sports network Match TV, which is indirectly owned by the state through gas company Gazprom.
The rights are held by the Telesport agency as part of a reported Russian deal for the next four editions of the Olympic Games.
Rights to broadcast the Rio 2016 Olympics in Russia were
acquired by a consortium comprising Channel One, NTV Plus, Russia 2 and VGTRK. The free-to-air channels Russia 1 and Channel One have shown the ‘key’ events, with additional coverage available on Russia 2 and Russia 24, along with coverage on pay-TV, the internet, mobile devices and radio.
Russia was excluded from the €1.3-billion ($1.53-billion) European rights deal between the IOC and Discovery Communications, the USA-based media giant that owns Eurosport, announced in June 2015.