June 06, 2006
It's that time again, as evidenced by the open month discussion turning towards football. As the civilised world's attention turns to Germany, Lebanon has started to sprout an international collection of flags that would do the United Nations (or at least the EU) proud. Although there are three MENA clubs in the field, Lebanese flag-bearers prefer the front-runners: I've probably seen more Brazil flags than any others, followed by France, Italy, and a surprising number of Germany flags, along with a few each England and Sweden and one solitary Argentina flag. No Saudi Arabia, and no Iran or Tunisia flags that I can recall.
The Lebanese have more excuse than a lot of people for flying other countries' flags during the Cup, as they've centuries of history as a nation of emigrants, and there are Lebanese pretty much everywhere you'd want to look for them in the globe.
One flag that I've been keeping an eye out for, but haven't seen any of, is the Netherlands flag. I'm convinced that someone is missing a big opportunity here by not marketing Netherlands parephenalia to the Free Patriotic Movement's followers. How hard could it be to get someone like this to root for someone like this, I ask you?
In the meantime, the Saudi cable channel ART has bought exclusive rights to broadcast the Cup in the MENA region. Unfortunately, these theoretical rights ran into the realities of cable TV distribution in Lebanon, and forced a compromise:
Lebanese soccer fans will be able legally to watch this year's World Cup live after an agreement was reached between illegal cable operators and the satellite network that has the exclusive right to air the mondiale in the Middle East, Information Minister Ghazi Aridi announced Monday.As for the matches themselves, I'm a typical ignorant yank whose knowledge of football extends no farther than "you should always go for it on 4th down and 2", so I'll just point to these unofficial team rankings, suggested by Aqoul reader Zurn in his livejournal.
Illegal cable operators agreed to pay collectively some $500,000 to the Arab Radio and Television network (ART) within 48 hours without imposing on their subscribers any extra charges for airing World Cup matches.
The decision was made in a meeting Monday at the Telecommunication Ministry between the network's manager in Lebanon, Mohammad Yassine, and a delegation of more than 10 cable operators from all over Lebanon.
In return, ART agreed not to take any legal actions against the operators. It was stipulated, however, that the operators would not transmit ART to restaurants or hotels.
Discuss amongst yourselves.
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thats mildly amusing. i wonder how the illegal operators will cut off hotels and restaurants while leaving it on for households. maybe they have digital cable...
I'm assuming that part of the agreement is mainly aimed at keeping the licensing money coming in from the five-star hotels & other upscale venues, and that they really don't give a shit where Omar's Arguileh Hut gets its world cup coverage from.
Posted by: Tom Scudder at June 6, 2006 11:11 AM
Heh, so soccer can bring peace to cable rivalries. Well, football's probably just too big a deal to put a lid on. I can imagine the PR backlash from even trying to have the games pulled.
Posted by: zurn at June 6, 2006 11:19 PM
Here's something about a new film on - what else - the Palestinian effort to have a national football team!
Posted by: SP at June 7, 2006 06:15 PM
since i my post is too frivolous for 'aqoul i've had to post it on my own blog:
Posted by: raf* at June 8, 2006 07:28 PM
The Cup and W(h)anking!!
Posted by: SP at June 9, 2006 03:50 PM