While Astro continues to provide full coverage of the FIFA World Cup through a subscription paywall, Malaysians will still be able to catch most of the action of this year’s edition for free on RTM. The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia-owned company announced yesterday it will be the official broadcaster of the 2022 tournament, held in Qatar from November 21 to December 19.
The arrangement will see RTM broadcast 41 of the 64 planned matches – 27 live (including the final), 14 delayed – that will involve 130 hours of airtime, said minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa. The matches will be telecast on the RTM2, TV Okey and Sukan RTM channels, as well as on the RTMKlik app. “RTM will broadcast matches involving high-ranking countries that have many fans in Malaysia,” he told reporters during the event.
Annuar added that RTM spent RM32.5 million on the deal with FIFA and called upon other organisations to help offset the cost. “I hope that private companies and government-linked companies can share in covering the cost of broadcasting together with RTM,” he said.
A total of six presenters will host RTM’s coverage of the Qatar World Cup – Syafiq Asyraf, Rasdi Jumaat, Zackhi Suri, Jeed Zulkefli, Aizuddin Shah and Mohd Nazri Shukri. There will also be 12 guest presenters that will provide commentary during the matches, including former players and national coaches.
This arrangement isn’t new – RTM has continuously bid for the World Cup broadcasting rights since the 2002 World Cup (held in South Korea and Japan, in case you don’t remember), according to Annuar. The company said it first provided free coverage in 1974, when the tournament was held in West Germany.
On Friday, FIFA announced the tournament will start a day earlier than planned to allow the match between Qatar and Ecuador to be the first game played, at midnight Malaysian time. This will enable the longstanding tradition of the opening match featuring either the hosts or the defending champions to be retained. The opening ceremony has also been brought forward and will now kick off the World Cup on the 20th, instead of being a day behind the first two matches as previously scheduled.