Cricket World T20: Why you can’t watch it in public in UAE

The ICC World Twenty20 2012 starts in Sri Lanka on September 18, 2012, and cricket fans here in the UAE just can’t wait to watch it on the big screens – like last year, when a number of cinemas, restaurants and cafés screened the matches for their customers.

Only, this year they can’t.

For, the official broadcaster of the Twenty20 2012 here in the UAE has run adverts in local dailies, warning restaurants, coffee shops, cinema houses, etc. from screening the matches without prior approval from Pehla Media & Entertainment, the broadcaster, and has said that it will take legal action against violators.

Pehla holds the official licence to broadcast the ICC World T20 2012 in the UAE through its CricOne channel, which is the exclusive and official broadcast partner of the ICC World Twenty20 2012 in the UAE.

In its “cautionary notice”, the broadcaster warns: “All commercial establishments (coffee shops, restaurants, bars, hotels, camps, tents, cinemas and public viewing, etc.) need to be informed that it is illegal to screen and view CricOne channel and ICC World T20 without the signing of a Commercial Agreement Contract with Pehla Media & Entertainment or its authorised distributors in the UAE.”

The signing of the commercial contract might, logically, entail payment to the broadcaster, and a number of commercial organisations, therefore, may not enter into such a contract. Which could mean two things – they won’t screen the matches, or they’d do so ‘illegally’.

For the second category of restaurants/cafés, the notice adds: “Please note that anyone screening or viewing CricOne and ICC World T20 without a commercial agreement will be subject to legal action.”

Okay then, where are you going to watch the World T20 with friends – at home? Let us know.

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