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Wednesday, 1 May, 2002, 09:03 GMT 10:03 UK
World Cup goes online
Michael Owen celebrates scoring for England against Germany
Fans will be able to watch matches on the internet
Football fans unable to fly to Japan and Korea or to get near a TV to watch vital World Cup matches will be able to catch up on the action on the internet.

For the first time in the competition's history, highlights of all 64 matches will be available on the web.

Fifa and its World Cup partner, Yahoo, are bringing video clips of all the best action from the games to desktops around the world via the official World Cup site, Fifaworldcup.com.

A blanket ban prevents other sites from featuring any action from the matches.

Pay up

Keen fans will have to pay a fee of 14 to access the service, which will include four minutes of highlights from each game.

It will feature searchable highlights so that fans can locate their favourite moments and additional post-match interviews.

Open Quote
By launching this video highlights package, Fifa has listened to the voices of the football fans
Close Quote
Joseph Blatter, Fifa president
The clips will be available two to three hours after the final match of each day.

The service may prove popular to those outside of Japan and Korea's time zones, especially in Europe where fans will be up to nine hours behind the action.

"By launching this video highlights package Fifa has listened to the voices of the football fans across the globe and has responded by providing the ultimate way to stay in touch," said Fifa president Joseph Blatter.

Blanket ban

Mr Blatter believes the historical decision to provide web highlights shows the football organisation is taking the net seriously.

"Fifa has moved decisively into the new communications era, utilising the latest technologies to bring the best of the Fifa World Cup to fans wherever they are in the world," he said.

Other internet sites, including BBC Sport, will not be able to show clips of the matches on the internet for this or any foreseeable World Cup though.

"It is a common complaint from users but we have no rights to show video clips," said BBC News and Sport editor Pete Clifton.

"This kind of blanket ban is very frustrating."

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