In anticipation of the insolvency of the German group KirchMedia GmbH & Co. KGaA, distributor of the worldwide TV rights for the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup(tm), all necessary precautions have been taken in advance in order to ensure the protection of the FIFA World Cup(tm) rights and the broadcasting operations related to this event.

As part of these precautions, a restructuring has been made by KirchMedia, with the full support of FIFA, which guarantees a continued and smooth operation throughout the 2002 FIFA World Cup(tm) and beyond. By this approach it is ensured that all FIFA-related assets as well as the implementation and operational management for the FIFA World Cup(tm) broadcast rights are combined within a vertically integrated group of companies, now falling under KirchSport AG, headquartered in Zug (Switzerland).

KirchSport AG and its management team have been heavily involved in all operational aspects of the FIFA World Cup television project since 1997 (originally through Prisma Sports & Media AG). Their role was originally carried out in a sales and servicing agency capacity on behalf of KirchMedia. However, with the announcement of the new structure, KirchSport AG’s role is expanded further to become the parent company of the actual rights holding entities.

The two rights-holding entities, KirchMedia WM AG and KirchMedia WM GmbH as well as Host Broadcast Services (HBS) are now fully controlled subsidiariesof KirchSport AG (Switzerland) as opposed to KirchMedia GmbH & Co. KGaA. The companies are all financially sound and legally independent and will be in a position to fulfil all their obligations towards the broadcasters despite the fact that insolvency proceedings may behave been opened against the parent company, KirchMedia GmbH & Co. KGaA in Munich.

This restructuring has absolutely no effect on the contractual rights that have been granted by KirchMedia to the FIFA World Cup broadcasters.

Under the continued oversight of KirchSport AG, this structure equally ensures the operations of Host Broadcast Services (HBS), based in Switzerland, with offices in Seoul, Tokyo and Paris. HBS, the host broadcaster for the 2002 FIFA World Cup(tm), continues its preparations for the production of the international signal as scheduled.

In terms of payments, by the agreed deadline of 15 January 2002, FIFA has already received from KirchMedia GmbH & Co. KGaA all of the due payments, amounting to CHF 1.2 billion. The outstanding amount of CHF 100 million, due to be paid 20 days after the end of the 2002 FIFA World Cup(tm), is covered by the relevant irrevocable bank guarantees.

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter said: ‘We have been closely monitoring the recent developments regarding the KirchGroup and implemented the appropriate measures in order to ensure the smooth organisation of the television operations of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Our television partner will be able to produce a high quality signal feed for all viewers around the world.’

For further information please contact:

Andreas Herren
T: +41 1254 9725