Cable TV operators slam Lebanese state over failure to secure World Cup for all
Rebecca Hawkes
| 16 June 2014
Lebanese cable TV providers have criticised the government for not securing free-to-air World Cup 2014 broadcast rights for the country's population.

The only way for Lebanese football lovers to legitimately watch the matches from Brazil is by subscribing to services authorised by SAMA, the sole agent of Middle East rights holder beIN Sports.

"The government should form an emergency ministerial committee to enable the Lebanese people to watch the World Cup matches for free," said Mahmoud Khaled, general coordinator of the network of cable providers in Lebanon.

Khaled says viewers cannot afford the fees demanded by SAMA nor, he added, could local cable providers afford the fees asked of them to carry the authorised feed, according to Naharanet.

Pay-TV piracy is rife in Lebanon, and the government is yet to introduce a proper legal framework for copyright protection and to fully implement Lebanese laws to reduce intellectual property theft.

In a press conference, Khaled claimed the state had "shied away from its responsibilities" regarding the universal accessibility of World Cup coverage, adding that cable operators were not warned that viewers would have to pay SAMA for beIN Sports viewing cards if they wished to watch World Cup games.

"We will go ahead with the broadcast if we reach a short-term understanding with the judiciary and the agent and until the ministerial committee is formed," he told reporters.

The FIFA World Cup 2014, which kicked off in Brazil on Thursday (12 June) will run until 13 July.