Lebanon asks Qatar to help bankrupt nation watch World Cup

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The Lebanese Prime Minister has asked Qatar to ease entry for Lebanese wishing to watch the World Cup later this year amid Lebanon’s financial and economic depression

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Monday asked Qatar to help its citizens watch this year’s World Cup as rising inflation and a weak Lebanese lira put TV coverage out of reach for most Lebanese.

Miktati also urged Doha to help Lebanese who wish to travel to the Gulf emirate to watch the World Cup in November this year.

After meeting with Qatari local and regional media expert Mohammed Rashid al-Khanji and Doha Ambassador to Beirut Ibrahim bin Abdul Aziz Al-Sahlawi, Mikati called for coordination between Beirut and Doha to help those killed on want to take part in the biggest football tournament.

He also asked Qatar to allow those who remain in Lebanon to access matches on TV, but the details of that request were not clear.

The World Cup will take place in Qatar from November 21st to December 18th.

Mikati’s request came a day after the World Cup trophy was on display for just hours as part of an international tour and opening of the soccer tournament in Beirut.

The trophy was accompanied by Brazilian footballer Juliano Belletti.

Al-Khanji said the choice of Lebanon as the destination for the World Cup promotional tour “didn’t come out of nowhere”.

“We were really struck by the love we saw during our visits to schools and academies. Many Lebanese even have tickets to take part in the World Cup,” he said.

Ticket prices average over US$1000, which has become unattainable for a large segment of Lebanese as the county suffers from the worst financial crisis on record.

The Lebanese currency has lost more than 90 percent of its value in less than three years, while many people have slipped into unemployment and poverty amid the economic meltdown.

At the current exchange rate, which stood at about 28,000 Lebanese pounds (LL) on Tuesday, US$1,000 would be equivalent to about 28 million Lebanese liras.

If no agreement is reached, many people in Lebanon who cannot afford a license will have to rely on illegal cable networks or cafes and bars to watch the games.

Based in Qatar as of 2014 be in sports filed a lawsuit against the state television station TeleLiban (TL) for broadcasting the games hosted by Brazil at the time without legal permission.

However, in 2018, TL broadcast the games for free after the Lebanese government bought the broadcasting rights.

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