Ruling party official confirms Telekom Serbia overpaid for Premier League rights


A senior official of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) confirmed on Tuesday that Telekom Serbia really is paying 600 million Euro for the TV rights to the Engligh Premier League.

Zoran Djordjevic, a member of the SNS main board and CEO of the Serbian Post Offices, blamed the SBB cable services provider and United Group co-owner Dragan Solak for the high price. Djordjevic added in an op-ed piece for the pro-regime tabloig Informer that the price was enormous for the Balkans market. “The real reason for that high prices, and Solak’s media are keeping quiet about it, is that it was reached after several rounds of bidding in competition with Solak’s SBB which was prepared to pay just under 600 million Euro in the second round of bidding. He raised the price hoping that Telekom would back out,” he wrote.

United Group said in July last year that it’s bid for the rights to the Premier League was 35 million Euro a season, adding that even that price was too high because of the illegal competition by state and private capital which is banned under European Union law.

“The claims by Post Offices CEO Zoran Djordjevi that we made an offer of just under 600 million is absolutely not true. When Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic made similar claims last summer we called him to prove them which did not happen. Now false information is being placed through the CEO of a public company and the public is being deceived once again. Perhaps the Post Offices CEO can say how the overpaid TV rights, not just for English football, will be commercially profitable,” Sport Klub Director Nemanja Simeunovic said.

Telekom Serbia is set to pay 100 million Euro a year for the TV rights which is several times more than what TV stations in the most developed countries are paying. Economy experts said that the state-owned Telekom Serbia has overpaid its investments and that it will have a bad effect on its business operations. “A simple calculation shows that Telekom will find it hard to pay off the investment however big and given the company’s huge debts, the question is whether that investment is justified bearing in mind that we have seen other investments in the past which turned out to have been overpaid,” economist Goran Radosavljevic said.

The late Jelisaveta Vasilic, a member of the Anti-Corruption Council, described the non-transparent operating of the Telekom Serbia in her reports but the Council has not said a word about the whole thing even though it promised to take a stand late in the summer of 2020. We still son’t know when and if the operations of Telekom Serbia will be discussed by the Anti-Corruption Council.