Turkish Football Federation in spat with local media giant

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Private TV channel Teleon has retaliated quickly to the Turkish Football Federation's decision to annul Teleon's broadcast rights to Major League soccer matches. Teleon is owned by the Uzan Group, a big Turkish conglomerate that owns Star TV and the daily newspaper Star." Teleon is running print ads, created in-house, that claim Turkish Football has chosen unfairly to cancel the broadcasting rights despite Teleon's attempts to resolve the dispute. "Under these circumstances, we as Teleon will not waive our legal rights. We have full confidence in the eminent Turkish courts, which we believe will reinstate our justly earned rights," says the ad. The football federation argues it nullified the May 1999 contract with Teleon because of Teleon's negligence in meeting its financial responsibilities, according to Ata Aksu, VP of the federation. "We have seen no sign of a positive intention on Teleon's part in paying [what] is currently owed to the TFF," he says.

According to the football federation, Teleon has paid $65 million so far in the 2000-2001 season and $92.2 million remains outstanding for the rest of the football season. But according to Teleon's print ads, it has offered to pay immediately an additional $12.5 million to solve the dispute.

The ad concludes that Teleon's subscribers will continue to view Galatasaray's matches in the Champions League. Teleon has been heavily promoting the Major League matches for the last two years, and has an estimated 100,000 subscribers with set-top boxes.

Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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