RP GETS IOC NOD TO COVER OLYMPICS

MANILA, March 25, 2004  (STAR) By Joey Villar - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) yesterday gave assurances that the country would be allowed to broadcast the Olympic Games this August in Athens, Greece despite the reported arrears incurred by government television station Nation Broadcasting Network (NBN) Channel 4.

"RP is not blacklisted," said Michael Payne, director for broadcast marketing by the IOC. "We’re committed to broadcast coverage through out the world and that includes the Philippines so we hope to see you there (Athens)."

Payne was reacting to earlier reports that NBN 4, which has been airing the Olympics in the country in the past including the 2000 Sydney Games, reportedly owed the IOC and Sydney broadcast group $1.2 million.

But NBN top executive Mia Concio said that they are hoping to settle it, possibly next month, although she did not give details as to how much money they will need to pay the arrears and keep the broadcast rights for Athens.

"We’re trying to fix it, maybe before April ends. We have to," said Concio. "We have a relationship and partnership with the IOC and we intend to protect it," she added.

John Barton, head of sports of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, for his part, said the commitment of the Olympic movement in protecting every country’s right to air will continue.

"We know there will be some bumps along the road but broadcasting games in the Philippines will continue," said Barton, who was also with IOC representative to RP Frank Elizalde.

Payne and Barton, however, failed to mention which local television station will be allowed to telecast games of the quadrennial meet although NBN 4 owns the rights to air it until the 2008 Beijing Olympics.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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