TVB has agreed to pay a fee to the International Olympic Committee to broadcast the London Olympic Games, meaning iCable, which holds the broadcast rights, faces being shut out of a deal to show 200 hours of footage on free-to-air television. With just two weeks to go until the Games open, TVB said yesterday it had made an offer to the IOC to transmit 200 hours of coverage in collaboration with fellow free-to-air broadcaster ATV. The company would pay a 'reasonable fee', its spokesman said, and coverage would include the opening and closing ceremonies. ATV's executive director, James Shing Pan-yu, says his company is 'actively involved' in the talks and expects an announcement soon. The move follows the collapse of talks between the free broadcasters and iCable, which insisted on broadcasting much of its own advertising in breaks in their coverage. Other issues included problems with the availability of Hong Kong's free-to-air channels in Guangdong, where state broadcaster CCTV holds the right to show the Games. Under TVB's proposal, the company would 'evenly' share the coverage with ATV and the Games would be shown on the international channels ATV World and TVB Pearl. iCable had no comment yesterday. The company gave the IOC assurances that the Games would be widely available when it won the right to show the event in 2007. But the government has yet to make a decision on its application to run a free-to-air channel of its own. It said on Tuesday that the IOC had agreed a deal over mainland coverage that would allow its negotiations with ATV to proceed. TVB has urged the IOC to make its decision quickly so preparations for its co-production with ATV can start. Meanwhile, the city's sports chief yesterday reiterated the IOC had told him it would ensure a deal was struck to show the Games for free. 'Such an assurance has been given to me all along,' Sports Federation president and Olympic Committee chief Timothy Fok Tsun-ting said.