Skip to main content

Lebanon’s World Cup 'crisis'

A dispute over broadcasting rights has led the Lebanese to temporarily ignore political crises and focus on ways to watch World Cup games.
Fans of Lebanon cheer their team during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Qatar in Doha, November 14, 2012. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad  (QATAR - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) - RTR3AEDG
Read in 

Another crisis has been added to the many Lebanese crises. However, this time it is about the fact that a large segment of the Lebanese people will not be able to watch the World Cup soccer matches. The story began a few weeks ago, when it became clear that the Qatari company Sama had been granted the exclusive rights to broadcast the World Cup games in the Middle East, through the beIN Sports TV channel, previously known as Al-Jazeera Sports. So far, everything seemed normal. Nevertheless, things do not remain simple in Lebanon, where there is a widespread phenomenon called satellite piracy, run by cable distributors in various Lebanese neighborhoods.

These are groups of people who work outside the framework of any law or formal regulation. They pick up the transmission of satellite channels and wire them to homes, in exchange for the small amount of about $10 per month for every subscriber. It should be noted in this context that some broadcasting rights owners have previously demanded that the Lebanese authorities take measures and put an end to this piracy, but to no avail.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.