Television channel Caracol said Thursday that anyone wishing to show Friday’s decisive world cup qualifying match between Colombia and Chile must ask for authorization.
The move threatens to undermine a national tradition whereby millions of Colombians spill out onto the streets and parks of the cities in order to watch the national team play.
“It is forbidden to transmit [Colombia’s] qualifying matches in public spaces like parks, squares, sports stadiums, sports complexes, cinemas, theatres, commercial centers, among others,” said Caracol in a press release.
“If this is done, CARACOL TELEVISION S.A will begin civil and criminal proceedings against the relevant parties.”
Caracol bought space in several national newspapers to reiterate their exclusive right to broadcast Colombia’s world cup qualifying matches.
Jorge Martinez, secretary general of Caracol, told weekly Semana that there are people who broadcast the games in public without paying for a signal. He said that such people are breaking the law by making money out of something that belongs to Caracol.
Colombia go into their penultimate qualifying match against Chile needing just a point to make it to their first World Cup since France 1998.
During that tournament local governments broadcast the games to millions of fans for free in parks and squares around the country. Led by famed afro-wearer Carlos Valderrama, Colombia were knocked out in the group stage after losing to Romania and a Beckham-inspired England.
The match against Chile kicks off at 4PM (5PM EST).