There’s been a lot of buzz these past days in the Arab blogosphere about the World Cup matches and the exclusive rights agreement that ART has with FIFA to air the World Cup in the Middle East.
This deal means that the only way for Arabs to get to watch the World Cup is to subscribe to ART, something which isn’t within the reach of everyone, or if they have a dish installed, hope that some satellite channel will be airing the matches, which is not such a sure bet.
Local, terrestrial, TV stations in Arab countries will only get a 20 minute ‘Match Highlights’ package, that they can only air one to two hours after the match.
A lot of people have lashed out against ART and its founder Sheikh Saleh Kamel because of this, blaming him for this and pouring out their hate on him.
What’s worse is that the ART holds the rights to airing the World Cup up to 2014.
I too think that this is very bad and unacceptable, but I think that the blame and hate shouldn’t be thrown on ART and its founder. After all, the guy is just a business man who ceased an opportunity he found available, just like anyone else would. Believe me, if it wasn’t ART, it would have been someone else.
The real blame should be thrown on the over greedy, money thirsty FIFA!
It’s not enough they’ll be raking in millions and millions in sponsorship deals, ticket sales and what not; No they also have to sell airing rights to the matches for millions of dollars, bringing about all the negative effects we’re witnessing now.
Of course, a business man paying all that money for airing rights will want to see some return on his investment, and the only way he can do that is by reselling some of the rights and selling subscriptions.
But this is the World Cup we’re talking about, the most important and biggest sporting event in existence. It belongs to the World, not to FIFA!
What is FIFA but an organization created to oversee the worldwide game, centralize its rules and promote it.
When did it become a greedy business running after every penny in our pockets?
This is complete nonsense and totally unacceptable.
Give us back our football!
Down with FIFA!