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Russia, FIFA reach last-gasp TV deal for Confederations Cup

MOSCOW (AP) — FIFA said Sunday it has reached a TV rights deal with Russian broadcasters for the Confederations Cup just six days before the tournament kicks off. The deal means state-controlled Channel One and Match TV will televise games for the event, avoiding the potential embarrassment of the tournament not being shown in the host nation. However, Russia remains without a deal for next year's World Cup.

The last-minute negotiations are highly unusual for FIFA, which prefers to ink broadcast deals several years before big events. FIFA wanted Russia to sign a deal covering both the World Cup and the Confederations Cup, a warm-up event. However, Russian officials balked at the cost.

Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko previously accused FIFA of overcharging for World Cup rights, saying in April that soccer's world governing body demanded $120 million from Russian TV channels, up from $32 million paid by Russia for the 2014 World Cup, in comments reported by state news agency Tass.

Russian broadcasters would make a loss on the tournament under those conditions, Mutko added. FIFA didn't say how much the Russian broadcasters will pay for rights to the Confederations Cup, which runs from June 17 through July 2, under the deal announced Sunday. The agreement also grants domestic radio broadcast rights to state company RTR.

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