MDA scrutinising ongoing negotiations for EPL broadcasting rights

Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim said the authorities would 'look closely' at negotiations to ensure the cross carriage measures were not abused

Negotiations for the rights to broadcast English Premier League (EPL) matches in Singapore are currently under scrutiny from the Media Development Authority.

Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim made the revelation in Parliament on Wednesday, and added the authorities are trying to ensure that the cross-carriage measures implemented had no loopholes.

"We're looking at this very very closely to see whether there are any built-in barriers which will bypass the regulator,” the Minister said.

Dr Yaacob response came after a question was posed by Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Zaqy Mohamad on why Singtel were the only content providers for the EPL this August.

Singtel had previously announced in October last year that it had secured non-exclusive broadcast rights for the next three seasons of the EPL.

This meant that with the cross carriage rules, the non-exclusive nature of the agreement allowed rival cable television operator Starhub to initiate a similar deal, one which Dr Yaacob hinted was in process.

"At the moment all we know is that SingTel has signed but we know that other providers are interested and they are in negotiations,” he said.

StarHub had expressed their dismay at the lack of a tender for this year and the nature of the deal struck by Singtel. They had also stated the rights will be bought only if it was deemed to be commercially viable.