BEIRUT: Cable television provider Sama threatened Thursday any cable provider or TV channel that attempts to broadcast World Cup 2014 without its consent, while Lebanese wait for any news about Tele Liban’s deal.
The cable provider, who had bought the exclusive right to broadcast the World Cup from beIN sports, threatened to prosecute whoever shows the matches without its permission.
“Re-broadcasting the World Cup 2014 matches without a license [from Sama] is a violation of the company’s rights,” said a statement released by the company today.
“It will lead broadcasting networks and cable network owners to be legally prosecuted over civil and criminal charges,” it continued.
Qatar’s state-owned BeIN, the new name for Al-Jazeera’s sports channel, has the distribution rights to the 2014 World Cup. Currently, Sama is the only one with the rights to air the World Cup in Lebanon and plans on charging $110 for the full package.
Youth and Sports Minister Abdul-Muttaleb al-Hinawi announced last month that Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani had promised Lebanon that Tele Liban, Lebanon’s state-sponsored TV channel, would be able to broadcast the World Cup 2014 scheduled to start Thursday.
However, Tele Liban’s Director Talal Makdessi expressed his pessimism about the chances of airing the World Cup earlier today.
“The Lebanese state got a promise from [Qatar’s emir] to be given permission to broadcast World Cup games ... and the case is now in the hand of the youth and sports minister,” Tele Liban Director Talal Makdessi told the Voice of Lebanon radio station. “There is no final contract up to the moment, there is a promise that could get implemented and may not, and I think it is not going to be implemented."
Makdessi accused the Lebanese state of reluctance in following up on the issue and urged it “to fulfill its duties in this regard.”
In a statement later during the day, Tele Liban’s board of directors issued a statement saying it is “still waiting for the Qatari Emir’s gift to broadcast the World Cup games.”
The statement said that the channel did not discuss any financial charge with Al-Jazeera Sports in exchange for broadcasting the games.
If Tele Liban gains the rights to broadcast the World Cup, they plan to air it free of charge.