Three representatives of the Vietnam Professional Football Company (VPF), which was recently established to run Vietnam’s V-League, National Cup and First Division Tournament, met with AVG’s managers at AVG head office in Hanoi on February 21.
At the meeting, VPF’s Vo Quoc Thang, Pham Ngoc Vien and Nguyen Duc Kien re-affirmed VPF’s viewpoint of reconsidering the 20-year telecast deal signed between the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) and AVG in December 2010.
VPF asked AVG to back two principles: facilitating the Vietnam Television (VTV) to air live V-League to serve the audience and AVG has to pay higher royalty than the fixed number of VND6 billion ($300,000)/year, which increases 10 percent annually, in the contract between AVG and VFF. AVG promised to answer in a week.
Kien said that if the two sides cannot reach agreement, VPF would ask VFF to hold an extraordinary meeting to solve this issue.
AVG’s head Pham Nhat Vuong said on February 20 that AVG was willing to concede the telecast contract if VPF can sell the broadcasting right for over VND70 billion ($3.5 million) in three years, as Doan Nguyen Duoc had disclosed.
Kien affirmed that VPF had negotiated with a big broadcaster and the two sides had inked a memorandum of understand. “The royalty is surely higher than VND70 billion, for only the V-League, the National Cup and the First Division Tournament, not other events held by VPF,” he said.
Before meeting with VPF’s representatives, AVG held a press conference for the first time to release information about the 20-year deal.
At the press conference, AVG chairman Pham Nhat Vu told reporters that football fans would incur no damages from the deal between VFF and AVG.
He said AVG would set aside 100 percent of the profit earned from holding the TV rights of the country’s football leagues to serve the development of sports in Vietnam throughout the next 20 years.
He added that it is the local TV stations’ fault if they do not broadcast V-League - the Vietnamese top-tier football league, since AVG has allowed the stations to broadcast the leagues free of charge.
The press meeting also witnessed Vu’s heated conversation with the media concerning the telecast contract, in which AVG was awarded exclusive rights to broadcast the country’s professional football leagues for 20 years.
Last week, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism released the final conclusion of its inspection into the contract, saying VFF and AVG has closed a legally valid agreement.
VPF, the company set up to manage the football leagues, objected to the conclusion and lodged apeals against it. * Thanh Nien Newspaper: A football club competing at V-League said they received VND90 million (US$4,500) from TV rights for last year’s season, while they annually sink hundreds of billions of dong in investments for football. So when closing the contract with VFF, did AVG think that the profit from TV rights granted to the football clubs was too modest? VPF will work with the General Department of Sports and Physical Training to consider revising the 20-year term VFF and AVG has agreed on. What is your comment on this?
In the meeting today, I do not intend to speak of VPF, or the wrongdoings of relevant agencies and individuals. As I am also working in the media, I know that if a professional action is made use of, it will become a trick, which is intended for certain conspiracy… * Thanh Nien: I do not come here to discuss media or business morality with you. Can you please answer my question, or just say that you refuse to take it?
I am trying to make clear the most basic morality a journalist should have, which is to report honestly and objectively. That VPF is calling for a contract revision is not news. They even demanded to end the deal. In reality, VPF has made actions to show their disrespect to the contract. Now any other demand from them is their own business, not mine. * Buu Dien Vietnam Newspaper: according to the rules in the pay TV industry, the transmitting party is not allowed to produce TV programs. Is AVG a transmitter, or a TV station? I do not see any benefit the TV stations can enjoy when broadcasting Super Leagues, even when it is free. So is it certainly that they refuse to broadcast?
AVG is not a TV station. AVG is authorized to transmit the TV broadcast, and provide relevant services, so it is certain that we are allowed to produce TV shows. However, since we are not authorized to approve the program contents, we have to link with other stations such as Binh Duong TV or HTV Hanoi.
There are a number of TV programs full of ads but the TV stations broadcasting them will receive no projects such as HBO, CNN, BBC, or Star Movies. I have no idea why the stations have aired such a large number of channels but refuse to set aside a certain time for Super League. You got it? * Buu Dien Vietnam: Are the programs produced by AVG attractive enough, just like HBO, or Star Movies, for the TV stations to broadcast without airing any ads?
Of course I believe my programs are attractive. * VOV: once VPF has been transferred all of the necessary rights to organize Vietnam’s professional football leagues from VFF, it will have the right to ask for contract adjustments. Will AVG agree to cooperate with VPF?
It is VPF’s right to revise or end the contract. As for negotiation and cooperation, AVG is always willing to partner, whether with a transmitter, TV station, or VPF. * Tuoi Tre Newspaper: You claimed that 100 percent of profits from TV rights in the next 20 years will be dedicated to the development of Vietnamese sports. But do you think the football fans will believe in it while they don’t know how much AVG earns, and how much it will allocate for the sports development as claimed?
You reporters here and the whole society, should you want to watch over our profits, please come here and feel free to do it. Tuoi Tre/VNE/VNN