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By ESPN Staff

World Cup broadcast across Korean divide

SEOUL, June 12 (Reuters) - South Korea has begun sending TV signals of soccer's World Cup finals to North Korea for delayed broadcasts in the communist neighbour, a South Korean official said on Monday.

South Korea previously helped the reclusive and impoverished North receive TV broadcasts of the 2004 Athens Olympics, the South's broadcasting commission said.

'Following a test signal relay on Sunday, the main signal transmission started today by satellite,' the broadcasting commission official said by telephone.

The South will transmit video for all the games and the opening and closing ceremonies, the commission said separately in a statement.

The official declined to comment on the additional costs incurred by the South under the nondisclosure provision in the rights contract.

South Korea, which jointly hosted the 2002 finals with Japan, did not provide the North with broadcasts for the games then, although the North's state-run television showed some highlights.

South Korea has reached the finals this year, but its communist neighbour missed out on qualification after a campaign marred by crowd trouble during a home match against Iran.

North Korea last qualified for the World Cup finals in 1966, when it upset Italy on the way to becoming the first Asian team to reach the quarter-finals.