Photo of Laos Football Fans Endangers Thai World Cup Broadcasting Rights

World Cup broadcasting in Laos
The World Cup shown on a public television in Laos.

An image of football fans in Laos cheering their favorite World Cup teams in front of a television screen has put Thai broadcasting rights in jeopardy.

Bangkok Post reports that FIFA has threatened to end Thailand’s broadcasting of World Cup 2022 final matches if the kingdom fails to meet its standard encryption of broadcasting signals.

The Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) then informed the country’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) of FIFA’s warning that Thailand’s transmission access was being used in other nations.


Photos surfaced online of Lao fans enjoying watching the World Cup on public screens, despite the country of Laos not having the right to the commercial broadcast of any of the games.

The governor of SAT has requested that the NBTC guarantee that all parties strictly adhere to FIFA’s broadcasting transmission encryption standard, with FIFA requesting all over-the-air transmissions be encrypted on pain of losing World Cup broadcasting rights.

FIFA had already announced on its Facebook page this week that Lao football fans would be able to watch the World Cup 2022 matches for free on its streaming platform, FIFA+. But with commentary in English, many football fans in Laos prefer to access broadcasts with Thai commentary, which are easier for the local population to understand.