Today marks the third anniversary of the formal establishment of the Futbol Para Todos Soccer Broadcast Program and official data on the implementation of this initiative is arising, that allows Premier League soccer matches to be televised, and, just recently, the First National-B, organized by the Argentine Football Association (AFA).
It was an internal entity of the Executive Branch, the Office of the Comptroller General (SIGEN, for its acronym in Spanish), who produced a report on the first twelve months of the program (2009-2010). In this report, published this year, it is concluded that although there were "inaccuracies", especially in recruitment companies that were responsible for the transmissions, Futbol Para Todos "reasonably met the objectives."
The initiative began in mid 2009, when the AFA unilaterally terminated the contract that was bound to Tournaments and Competitions, the company that up to that point televised the matches, in some rare and important cases, through coded signals.
On August 20th of that year, during the winter off-season -and with the imminent start of the 2009 tournament - The Argentine Football Association signed a contract that gave the state the television rights "so they can be viewed for free by all citizens, without restriction and through broadcast television." The Office of the Cabinet had agreed to pay the AFA 50% of any revenue from advertising and set a minimum payment of $ 600 million per year.
The rush to get to televise the 1st game of the tournament was one aspect that SIGEN points out. On the one hand, the state achieved "starting" the program in record time, even ten days before its formal creation, which was the 1st of September 2009, when 221 Administrative Decisions were signed. However, the urgency caused the "payments to be made without approving expenditures that needed to follow the formalities prescribed by the regulations governing procurement in the Federal Government".
The Trustee justified this situation: "The times scheduled for the start of transmissions made it impossible to complete the stages of procurement according to current regulations."
The companies recruited were: La Corte S.R.L., responsible for central control and satellite transmission of signals (the same production company that transmits all public events), which claimed $11,581,732.67; VST S.A., which produces transmissions from the stadiums, and received a total of $7,585,503.42; Farolito International Entertainment S.A., in charge of the artistic aspects, i.e., of the reporters and commentators, to which $2,473,228 were paid.
By the Ending Tournament of 2010 (during the first half of last year), the Court SRL won the public bid 13/09, and, according to SIGEN, the Chief of Staff paid them $11,617,735.21.
For the company Farolito, "they continued making payments, authorizing care spending to the absence of prior adjudication." This time, the amount was $ 3,745,660. However, the Trustee explained that on October 22, 2010, after the closure of the investigation, direct contracting "for exclusivity provider, meaning that there were no suitable substitutes" was approved.
And VST S.A. services continued to be provided, and they were authorized more payments for invoices totaling $7,185,087.46.
During this process, in October 2009, the Chief of Cabinet authorized a call for direct recruitment for the coverage and transmission services from the stadiums, this was being carried out by VST SA, for the past ten dates of the Tournament of that year, but the process "was rescinded (because) the tender’s submissions substantially exceeded the costs.” Two months later, a public tender for a company that in 2010 lent the same services began to operate. SIGEN also asserts that this contract was rescinded because "the winner of the tender did not keep the offer stipulated at the time of the award." Back in July of last year, another public bid was started but at the time of the other public notice that at the end of the syndicate’s report, "it was in a technical evaluation".
On October 1st 2009 a rate for the advertising schedule had been approved, this set guidelines for soccer broadcasts. In this regard, the work of the SIGEN explains that "the selling of advertising didn’t turn out as expected". Therefore, "packages of matches with different combinations of days and times at special rates were offered" consequently achieving greater options.
Despite these deals, the Union states that the total billed for marketing during the period analyzed (2009-2010) was only $ 16,326,458.84 of the $ 600 million expected.
With this background, in February 2010, the Coordination Committee of Futbol Para Todos "resolved that in every televised game the only ads that could air were those exclusively related to government advertising."
The spots on the initiatives and actions of the various state agencies were seen over 91,120 seconds in 2009, and 115,264 seconds the following year.