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Al Jazeera: World Cup broadcast sabotaged
Technical problems on opening night ruin broadcast in areas across the Middle East.
June 12, 2010 11:13 by Samuel Potter
Al Jazeera Sport has said it is taking legal action after its exclusive broadcast of the FIFA World Cup opening night to the Arab world was blocked, reports Gulf News.
The broadcast of the opening ceremony and the opening game in the region was disrupted repeatedly, with the picture reportedly disappearing for long periods of time in the first half.
“Despite its considerable efforts to bring the best coverage to the most possible fans across the Middle East and North Africa, including 18 free-to-air games from the group stages, Al Jazeera Sport viewers repeatedly lost their signal through the course of Friday’s opening fixture,” said the channel in a statement.
Al Jazeera Sport said the block was beyond its control and it shared the frustrations of the viewers. The company urged viewers to move from the Egyptian Nilesat provider to Arabsat to be able to watch the match, says the paper.
“We do not know yet who is behind the interference, but we will go after whoever has caused this terrible act that has deprived millions in the Arab world from watching the start of the World Cup,” said Nasser Al Khalifi, the chairman of Al Jazeera Sports.
“We are shocked by what happened because the World Cup is not a political programme that someone wants to block. It is a global sports event and we had spent months negotiating with Fifa to enable viewers in the Arab world to enjoy some matches for free. Unfortunately, there are some people who have political motives, but we will go after them,” he said.