CAIRO: Egyptians hoping to watch the World Cup for free have been offered a chink of light after the country’s competition authority said it was obliging FIFA to let state TV show games.
Egypt’s national team — including star striker Mohamed Salah — is gearing up for its first World Cup in 28 years, but matches are only being broadcast in the country by Qatar-based pay television network beIN.
In a statement Sunday, the Egyptian Competition Authority said it had decided to “enforce its authority” and “compel FIFA to give the right for direct ground transmission to the (Egyptian) National Media Authority” for 22 World Cup matches.
The authority said it received a complaint against FIFA, accusing the international football organising body of violating Egypt’s competition law.
“FIFA has deprived competitors of beIN company from presenting better offers to the Egyptian viewer,” the authority said.
It said it wrote to football’s world governing body on May 17 “calling on FIFA to obey its publicised policy, but it has not cooperated with the continuous correspondence by the authority so far”.
It remains unclear if FIFA will comply with the demand by the time the World Cup kicks off on Thursday.
In Egypt, subscribers have to buy a beIN decoder for 1,630 pounds (78 euros) and pay a fee of over 2,000 pounds to watch the World Cup.
In a country of 97 million people where the average wage does not exceed 200 euros ($235), that means getting the subscription is beyond the means of many football fans.