World Cup: Australian PM steps into streaming row

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull intervened on behalf of angry soccer fans on Monday after a series of technical glitches marred viewing of the 2018 World Cup from Russia for a third day.

Malcolm Turnbull tweeted that he had spoken to Allen Lew, chief executive of Singapore Telecommunications’ Optus, which has exclusive rights in Australia to stream the month-long tournament.

“He assures me he is giving the World Cup streaming problems his personal attention and he believes it will be fixed this evening,” Turnbull said.

Australia’s sport-mad fans were left fuming following disruptions during Costa Rica’s match against Serbia on Sunday. There were issues on the opening night of the tournament too.

The barrage of complaints prompted Lew to apologize.

“We should have done better, we can do better and we will do better,” Lew said on Twitter.

Speaking later to reporters on a conference call, Lew said TV channel SBS would simulcast the next six World Cup matches through Wednesday morning while Optus worked to resolve the streaming problem.

While Optus has exclusive rights to the entire tournament, free-to-air SBS is screening all team Australia games, plus some select matches.

Turnbull has stepped into other sports-related controversies. In March, he demanded quick action from Cricket Australia after a ball-tampering scandal.


Zainab Sa’id