June 8th, 2010
12:42 PM ET

Military serving overseas may not get to see World Cup

U.S. Military personnel overseas may not get a chance to cheer on the U.S. in the World Cup.

The World Cup may be the world’s most-watched sporting event, but U.S. military personnel serving overseas may not be among the hundreds of millions with their eyes on the games.

Just four days before the games kick off Friday in South Africa, the Armed Forces Network, which provides television services to U.S. military installations around the world has yet to secure permission to show the World Cup.

“The American Forces Network Broadcast Center (AFN-BC) is actively working the clearance process to obtain the necessary international distribution permissions to broadcast the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa on AFN,” according to a statement on the network’s website.

The military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported Tuesday that the network has been negotiating with FIFA for more than two years to get broadcast rights to the games.

According to the Stripes report, the hang-up is money. The Armed Forces Network does not pay for programming, and paying for the World Cup could jeopardize its access to other events and programming.

Troops want to see the games.

“Is the world cup going to be on afn.... and if not why,” one wrote on AFN’s Facebook page.

“It’s something incredible that soldiers get a chance to see in addition to every other cultural nuance that happens while exposed to new places and people,” Army Staff Sgt. Michael Simion who is stationed in Baghdad, Iraq, told Stars and Stripes.

AFN vows to keep working on a deal, right up until the U.S. team kicks off against England on Saturday.

“Keep listening and watching AFN for updates,” it’s web page says. “If and when the AFN-BC is granted permission to distribute, you can bet we'll get the word out quicker than a penalty kick!”

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Filed under: Military • Sports
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Chut Pata

    A big number of boys risking their lives for this country are immigrants, sons of immigrants, or grandsons of immigrants. What is the big deal in providing them this little break in exchange for their sacrifices?

    June 8, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Johan

    Its a shame! Now these soldiers will miss the Dutch becoming world champions with sparkling play!

    June 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Elaine

    I cannot speak to television service in Afghanistan and Iraq. I do know, after 30+ years working for DoD overseas, in Italy, Germany, and Turkey, that local television will be broadcasting every last second of the World Cup. If you are lucky enough to be living in a country that really does care about the Cup (i.e.everywhere in the world except US) I urge you to go enjoy yourself in a fanzone – where giant screens broadcast the matches to enormous crowds who are having a wonderful time together. Much more fun that at home with ESPN or Eurosport.

    June 8, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Keane

    So wait, who is going to stop the US Army from broadcasting it anyways? I'm not all about militaries going around breaking laws, but come on. If they pirate the broadcast, who's coming around to stop them? We're not talking about life and death, bodily freedom, oppression here.

    June 8, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Paul

    AFN should telecast the games with or without FIFA's permission.

    June 9, 2010 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dan D Daniels

    imploed that dam well now.

    June 17, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
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    September 12, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
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