Pay to watch
CAIRO: Football, by far, is the most popular sport in Egypt, and while Egypt participated in the World Cup in 1934 and 1990, Egyptian football fans will have to content themselves with watching other nations vie for the coveted trophy.
Egyptians, like the rest of the Middle East, will be unable to watch World Cup matches for free. Arabic Radio and Television (ART), owned by the Saudi businessman Sheikh Saleh Kamel, bought the transmission rights to the Middle East until 2014 for $110 million.
The Daily Star Egypt took to the streets to talk to Egyptians about their World Cup memories and their reaction to the first pay-to-watch World Cup in the region.
I remember my father and elder brothers gathering in front of the TV to watch World Cup games. Afterwards, it happened with my husband and sons; I don’t think this will happen again this year. They will all gather at the cafés to watch the matches, each with their friends. Honestly, I hate ART. It will break our intimacy. Salma, housewife
Talking on a professional level, I wish all games were on cable TV. In my café, I usually have 200 extra patrons during Al Ahly matches in the African champion’s league. I will have fewer guests for World Cup matches than Al Ahly matches but I have more than 60 matches. On the entertainment level, what is better than watching a high level football match with friends? It will be a joy, hanging out and watching high class football.Ashraf, café owner
I believe this World Cup will be the best ever. I will gather with friends and watch most of the games and, actually, I want to thank ART for giving us a new meaning for football, which is football among friends while smoking Shisha.Joseph, student
This event happens every four years and we can’t miss it. It is the best football in the world. But what should I say; we are under the merci of a greedy Saudi businessman. He neither cares for people nor football. He cares only for money. I want to tell Sheikh Saleh that there is only one championship left for him, which is the European Nations Cup. Please take the rights of transmission of this championship too. It will be on in 2008 if you don’t know about it.Atef, teacher
Football has an amazing feel when many people gather together to watch it, but now we will not be able to watch it together. I remember Egyptian playing in the 1990 World Cup. We were more than 35 people watching the matches together. I can’t afford subscribing to ART and I am not able to watch the matches in cafes. Sanaa, civil servant
My father subscribed to ART few years ago to receive the exclusive transmission of the African Champions League. Since then, my friends and I gather in my home to watch the matches. It is a good chance to bring all of my friends to my place, plus it is the best football in the world. It is not even comparable with what we see in the Egyptian league.Mohamed, student
I heard that they will be able to transmit the opening match, semi-finals and the final match. These matches are enough for me; I am not a big football fan. I have most ART channels, but not with a subscription. Many places all over the capital offer illegal cable. Some people say it is prohibited and illegal, but I see preventing all of the Middle East from watching what they like is illegal and prohibited. Ahmad, supermarket owner
The views expressed in word on the street do not necessarily reflect the views of The Daily Star Egypt