In the lead up to the World up in South Africa, Moroccans were understandably excited by the promise of a feast of football. Then it was announced that Al Jazeera was asking a huge broadcast fee to show the games in Morocco. Understandably, the Moroccan government declined to pay. The result is that a majority of Moroccans are viewing the World Cup in cafés rather than at home.
There has been widespread criticism of Al Jazeera Sports, which is based in Qatar, and holds the broadcast monopoly in North Africa and the Middle East. According to the Morocco Board News Service, Al Jazeera demanded $15 million to allow Moroccan public television to broadcast only 22 of the 64 matches. Communications Minister Khalid Naciri rejected the offer, calling it "unjustified".
"The Al Jazeera Sports channel offered us the less-exciting matches and excluded the matches of certain teams, such as Argentina, Spain, Brazil, France and Algeria," Naciri said.
"All the countries that complain about the astronomical increase in World Cup broadcast rights must mobilise to deal with this problem, which denies the fans their right to have fun and watch this major football event," he added.