MK Eitan Cable yesterday blasted public broadcaster Channel 1's purchase of rights to Maccabi Tel Aviv's Euroleague basketball campaign, saying that the public was paying the price for the deal.

"Those who voted in favor of buying the rights to Maccabi Tel Aviv's games are enemies of public broadcasting," said Cabel, the minister without portfolio responsible for the Broadcast Authority, after the Broadcast Authority plenum authorized Channel 1's purchase of the rights to Maccabi's Euroleague games as well as the Euroleague Final Four for the sum of NIS 17 million.

Speaking with Haaretz a day after taking up his new position Cabel said that he had told the plenum that although he was an avid Maccabi supporter, the public broadcaster should not buy the rights to sports matches that would otherwise be purchased by the commercial channels.

"Channel 2, Channel 10 or the Sports Channel would be happy to buy the rights to Maccabi's matches. The Broadcast Authority would be better buying the rights to the [soccer] World Cup which would attract a much larger number of viewers who will now be forced to pay to watch the event," Cabel said.

Cabel does not have the authority to instruct the plenum on how to vote, but said he had decided to appeal to the board to vote against the deal.

"I may not have the authority, but I certainly have the moral authority. The Broadcast Authority is collapsing and it should not be spending $4 million on Maccabi Tel Aviv."