BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Cable providers ask Cabinet to resolve World Cup viewing rights

Brazil's Fred sits on the pitch as Croatian players Vedran Corluka (5), Dejan Lovren (6) and Ivan Rakitic (7) protest after referee Yuichi Nishimura, from Japan, called a penalty against Croatia during the group A World Cup soccer match in the opening game of the tournament, Thursday, June 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

BEIRUT: The general coordinator for cable providers in Lebanon Friday urged the government to pay the exclusive distributor of World Cup games, saying they might not broadcast the rest of the football matches.

“The government should form an emergency ministerial committee to address the current situation because the viewer cannot pay the exclusive network directly as they deal with the network through different cable providers,” Mohammad Khaled said in a televised news conference, referring to the unlicensed cable providers who he said could not pay the network for the rights.

“If the judiciary and the network will allow us [to broadcast the games] for a limited time until the Cabinet forms a ministerial committee, we will continue broadcasting the world cup.”

Qatar’s state-owned BeIN, the new name for Al-Jazeera’s sports channel, has the distribution rights to the 2014 World Cup. Currently, cable television provider Sama is the only one with the rights to air the World Cup in Lebanon, and plans on charging at least $110 for the full package.

BeIN registers legitimate users through a specific receiver number and a special card to watch the games.

“We deliberately cut off the broadcast yesterday for 45 minutes to show the government what would happen ... we received 35,000 phone calls complaining during that period of time,” Khaled said.

“During that time, people grew so angry and they started breaking their cable equipment.”

 

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