Al Jazeera Sport have become the first broadcaster in the world to purchase media rights packages to the Fifa World Cup tournaments in Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.
In a comprehensive deal covering 23 territories across the Middle East and North Africa, the Qatar-based channel will air matches on cable, satellite and terrestrial platforms and will also have mobile and internet rights. Financial terms were not disclosed, but even a conservative estimate would value the deal at an eight-figure sum.
Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke said: "Al Jazeera Sport more than proved its commitment to delivering high-calibre coverage to football fans during the 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa. Fifa's aim is to make the World Cup as accessible to as many people around the world as possible – and for this we thankfully have an immensely strong partner in Al Jazeera Sport for the Middle East and North Africa."
Nasser Al Khelafi, general manager of Al Jazeera Sport, added: "We are very excited about this deal as it is great news for football fans throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa who will now be guaranteed the very best programming of the world's most followed sports event."
Al Jazeera Sport is already an official broadcaster for the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil, and will hope to avoid some of the technical difficulties which blighted its coverage of the 2010 tournament in South Africa. The broadcaster called for assistance from the government of Jordan after signal jamming in the country disrupted broadcasts across the region. Jordan's authorities insisted they had no knowledge of the incident, dismissing claims that a dispute over a broadcast deal with Al Jazeera had given cause to create the problems deliberately.