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The right to broadcast television in Iranian football

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The right to broadcast football

Football is one of the biggest pastimes of today and has attracted many fans all over the world; But in recent years, this sport has become a kind of industry. Today, football has caused the economic growth and development of many countries, including England, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, etc. Holding high-quality leagues as well as professional club ownership in the mentioned countries has led to the creation of millions of dollars in income from television broadcasting rights in football.

Incomes in the field of football are caused by things like ticket sales and the presence of spectators in home stadiums, million-dollar contracts for buying and selling players, attracting sponsors and sponsors with large amounts of money, selling clothes and products related to the club, advertising around the field, offering clubs’ shares in the stock market and … Is; But the most important source of income of the football industry, whose effects in increasing the income of countries and the development of sports clubs, is undeniable, is the right to broadcast football matches on television; The value of this right is such that it is said that about 30 to 60 percent of the annual income (total annual income) of the countries that have high-quality football leagues is provided from this place.

The right to broadcast soccer television is actually a complete set and package that the trustee and owner sells its rights to one or more specific television channels. The mentioned networks will be allowed to broadcast relevant events and competitions as long as they pay a certain amount of money or provide services of economic value. Generally, many television networks are big customers of the right to broadcast football matches and competitions; Because they attract many audiences through football broadcasting.

The high statistical population of the audience makes it possible for those networks to advertise and broadcast commercials, which makes it possible to compensate all the expenses incurred for the purchase of the right to broadcast football television and even bring huge profits to the owners of the networks.

Usually, various sports bodies, such as confederations, federations or clubs, auction the rights to broadcast their teams’ matches in a ceremony and sell it for the highest possible amount.

Sale of football television broadcasting rights

TV broadcasting rights are sold in one of the following three ways:

  • Rights to broadcast live sports matches and events
  • Non-live broadcasting rights (in this case, the matches are not broadcast live, but an hour or hours have passed since it was held. Depending on how much this delay is, the price of football broadcasting rights will also be different.)
  • The rights to broadcast summaries or important scenes of the game

The right to broadcast football

Obviously, any network that has purchased the rights to broadcast live has the possibility of broadcasting the relevant event in a non-live manner or can display highlights and summaries of the game.

The way soccer TV rights are sold may vary in different countries. In some countries, such as Spain, television broadcasting rights are sold in a decentralized manner; in such a way that each club separately sells the right to broadcast football related to it; But in some other countries, this right is sold centrally; In this way, the league organization of the respective country sells the right to broadcast football for the entire league at once and distributes the income among the clubs based on a special table that it has designed in advance.

After examining the concept of the right to broadcast football and its undeniable impact on the development of the football industry, we will now examine this right in Iran. In the past decades, the right to broadcast football was not recognized by the broadcasters. After many challenges and conflicts between the league organization and Sedavsima organization and with the application of immense pressure from institutions such as AFC, Sedavsima finally agreed to sign the contract for the purchase of football broadcast rights in 2017.

According to the mentioned contract, the Broadcasting Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran pledged 11.5 billion tomans in the first year, 13.5 billion tomans in the second year, 17.5 billion tomans in the third year, and 22.5 billion tomans in the fourth year. to pay But Sedavsima Organization did not fully fulfill its obligations and paid only 25 billion for the first two years of the contract.

In a situation where many clubs in the Iranian league are in the most difficult financial conditions and even the league organization is involved in many financial problems, the non-fulfillment of obligations (related to the payment of football television broadcasting rights) by the broadcasting organization makes the situation more complicated and difficult.

Statistics show that Sedavsima earns hundreds of billions of Tomans annually from broadcasting football events; While it does not bring much profit to the clubs and the organization of the league or the football federation. This situation is while there is no legal and legal prohibition for Sedavsima to pay money related to the right to broadcast football, perhaps it is obliged to do so. One of the warnings that FIFA has given to the Iranian Football Federation is a transparent report on how to pay the proceeds from the sale of football broadcasting rights. This warning is so serious that ignoring it will lead to the suspension of Iranian football.

Some laws of Iran indirectly confirm the need to pay the proceeds from the sale of the right to broadcast football and sports events. In the following, we will try to mention some of them.

According to principles 22, 46, 47 and the fifth paragraph of principle 43 of the Constitution, the ownership of individuals over their legitimate businesses as well as the benefits and results obtained from them is allowed and respected, and no person (whether real or legal) is allowed to violate his right. act in a way that harms others. In this way, the ownership of football institutions (including the federation, league organization and clubs) over the rights arising from football events, including the right to broadcast football, is clear and obvious. If Sedavsima wants to use this privilege, it has to pay the price and it is not allowed to put the owners of said rights in a disadvantage with bad faith.

Articles related to the constitution of Iran Football Federation

Article 336 of the Civil Code also briefly mentions the said right. This article stipulates: “Whenever someone performs an act according to the order of another person for which the act is paid or that person habitually prepares for that act, the agent will be entitled to the reward of his act; Unless it turns out that he intended to donate.”

As mentioned before, the Broadcasting Organization has recognized this right in a very minimal way; In recent years, it has paid a small price for enjoying the right to broadcast football. The amount paid is not comparable to the huge profits that Sedavasima earns for broadcasting events and football content.

The statute of the football federation approved in 2019 also mentions this right directly or indirectly in several articles of FIFA regulations. Materials such as:

  • Article 53 (This article is about the marketing and television committee, which considers the competence of the said committee to include advice to the board of the football federation in the field of regulation and implementation of marketing and television contracts. One of these television contracts is the contract related to broadcasting rights)
  • Article 71 (This article refers to the income of the football federation. Paragraph (b) of this article refers to the income from marketing and the transfer of rights belonging to the football federation (such as broadcasting rights))
  • Article 80 (This article is about the rights belonging to the football federation. One of the rights listed in this article is the right to radio and audio-visual recording of the football federation and the right to broadcast football and reproduce football content).
  • The right to broadcast football

Also, Article 42 of the regulations of the Iran Premier League and the First Division of Iranian Football, approved in 1998, briefly mentions the right to broadcast football and the regulations related to the distribution of its revenue are subject to the financial guidelines of the League Organization and the Football Federation.

The review of the above regulations shows that although the principle of ownership of the right to broadcast football by Iranian football institutions has been recognized, there are many ambiguities and loopholes regarding how to achieve this right (at the practical stage) and the aforementioned materials answer all the challenges ahead. are not. These loopholes have caused Sedavasima to abuse the existing conditions and not only to not pay the rights related to football institutions in full, but to consider the same small amount of payment as a kind of favor to football institutions.

The main cause of these gaps and problems is that there is no comprehensive legal, sports and media regime. On the one hand, the parliament, as a legislative body, has not made any attempt to define the right to broadcast football sports content and determine its duties. On the other hand, the government, headed by the Ministry of Sports, as the main guardian of football, has been negligent in this matter. None of Iran’s ministers of sports history made an effective effort to solve the problem of the right to televise football. In addition to the mentioned two pillars, the officials of the Football Federation in the past years did not take the warnings of institutions such as AFC and FIFA seriously and did not take any significant action to solve it. Even managers who were in charge of sports clubs for many years (especially two popular clubs, Esteghlal and Persepolis), did not pursue this right, which is definitely one of their biggest sources of income, as it should have been. In addition to all this, the media did little to enlighten and demand this right. All of the aforementioned factors worked hand in hand so that the issue of the right to broadcast football was not resolved all these years and became the arena of conflict and disputes and lawsuits in the field of football and broadcasting officials.

The statesmen and decision-makers should know that ignoring the disruptions made by the broadcasters is a kind of violation of the general policies of the forty-fourth article of the constitution. It is true that in the law on the implementation of the policies of the forty-fourth article of the constitution, the right to broadcast football sports events has been exclusively assigned to the Broadcasting Organization, but in the same law, the abuse of the dominant economic situation and monopoly created by the broadcasting organization was prohibited.

The abuses of the existing monopoly by the broadcasting company have reduced the possibility of making profit and establishing social justice in sports, the football industry has been deprived of almost a third of its potential income, and the survival of many Iranian football clubs has been endangered. Because the amount of their accumulated expenses is more than its incomes, and due to the loss of football, the private incentive to invest in football will be reduced to a large extent. Also, in the long run, the possibility of fair competition between Iranian teams and foreign teams will disappear.

Almost all the teams in the world have made a lot of progress relying on the right to broadcast football, while the Iranian teams are getting more indebted than the previous day. Such unequal competitions can be seen in competitions such as the Asian Champions League. On the one hand, the Iranian teams, who are often deprived of buying high-quality local and foreign players due to debt, and on the other hand, the foreign teams that fully equip themselves with international players.


In this way, you should think of solutions to solve the issue of the right to broadcast football television as soon as possible. One of these solutions is the formation of strong and active unions of football clubs. Similar to what is common in European football. Often, these unions are one of the foundations of the development of the football industry in any country, and the purpose of their formation is to pursue all the rights of its members. In this way, the formation of such unions can be useful and effective for pursuing various rights of football members, including the right to broadcast football, or bargaining committees can be created to enter into negotiations and consultations with radio and television, and in this way, the rights related to football institutions Achieve the highest possible level.

Also, decision-making officials and authorities should gradually try and develop different laws to professionalize the structure of football so that, as a result, various issues such as the right to broadcast football will be resolved by themselves. Things like brand registration and registration of clubs as economic-commercial enterprises, gradual privatization of clubs and broadcasting organizations will be possible through the formulation of new and updated laws. There are other specialized solutions that are beyond the scope of the discussion.

It is obvious that according to all the above solutions and the formulation of the sales patterns of football television broadcasting rights, the bankruptcy of football clubs will be prevented, stable incomes will be created and finally the Iranian football industry will achieve significant progress.

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