World Cup rights irk BBC topper Dyke

Director general speaks out about high price of sports event

LONDON — Greg Dyke, the director general of the BBC, has lashed out at how the TV rights to the 2002 World Cup soccer tournament are being sold in the U.K.

At a European Broadcasting Union conference in Brussels, he called soccer’s international governing body FIFA “hypocritical” for selling the rights to Germany’s Kirch Group and Kirch itself a “villain” for its aggressive tactics as a middle man.

Dyke is frustrated by the impasse over the high price, alleged to be $300 million, that Kirch is seeking for the rights, although it is thought Kirch will settle for around $180 million.

The BBC and commercial broadcaster ITV, which have traditionally shared World Cup matches, are understood to have offered $60 million.

Kirch has threatened to divide their joint bid with an auction, which the broadcasters view as illegal.

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