Qatar: Football fans can’t watch matches on TV at World Cup

Football fans who have paid out huge sums for hotel rooms, apartments and villas at the Qatar World Cup face arriving to find no live TV coverage of the tournament there.

A number of hotels in Doha have decided not to screen games, having been told they will have to pay host broadcaster BeIN Sports around 100,000 Qatari riyals (£24,000) for every restaurant or bar which shows them.

The cost of making games available in rooms remains unclear, though hoteliers describe those fees to be unviable, too, with no flat rate per establishment. The costs are also thought to be affecting proprietors of rented villas and apartments.

Hotel rooms are beyond the budget of many fans travelling to Doha, where even rudimentary metal cabins will cost a minimum of £176 per night.

But fans who have paid out £400-a-night will be dismayed to find no in-room broadcasts and no games screened in restaurants and bars.

Ashley Brown from the Football Supporters Association (FSA)’s ‘Free Lions’ team, which is working to help fans who want to get to the tournament, said: ‘This will be seen as another added frustration for the loyal fans travelling to Qatar for the World Cup.

‘With entertainment options already limited, watching matches on TV with fellow fans from around the world should be one of the tournament highlights.

‘Fans now face the possibility of rented villas, apartments, hotel rooms and other accommodation where they cannot watch games.’

BeIN Sports said it could not disclose commercial arrangements with hotel and accommodation providers. But it indicated that it had to recoup some of the huge fees for tournament broadcasting rights, as well as its investment in production and technical facilities.

The broadcaster said that hotels and other establishments in Doha would earn unprecedented footfall and financial rewards from broadcasting games. It pointed out that host broadcasters had imposed charges at previous other World Cups and tournaments.

It is thought that BeIN, like others broadcast rights holders, has an obligation to make some games free-to-air.


Daily Mail

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