Our WC kick-off sabotaged, says Al-Jazeera

Doha - Al-Jazeera television's sports coverage was hit by outages during the opening match of the football World Cup by what the company claims was sabotage.

Al-Jazeera Sport, which has exclusive transmission rights of the event in the Arab world, was deliberately jammed on the Nilesat and Arabsat satellites, said a statement issued late on Friday.

The channel intends to identify and pursue those responsible for this "act of piracy," managing director Nasser bin Ghanem al-Kholeifi said, while also apologising to the fans.

Dubai daily Emarat Al-Yom ran a headline on Saturday saying "Al-Jazeera Sport spoils the World Cup's joy."

In the Saudi capital, Riyadh, football fans unleashed a fury of invective against Al-Jazeera after outages caused them to miss much of the first half of the South Africa-Mexico game on Friday.

Fans watching in a coffeeshop moaned as the broadcast went on and off constantly, and other fans turned to Twitter to express their ire.

"World Cup Fever is getting ruined by AL-JAZEERA's technical problem!" Twitter user "mjeddy" protested.

"I'd like to thank Jazeera for ruining my first World Cup game! No signal and no customer support. Just brilliant," said another who calls himself Nasserak.

Others questioned the proposed bid by Qatar, where Al-Jazeera is based, to host the World Cup in 2022.

The signal returned for most of the second half of the opening game, but was patchy. - Sapa-AFP

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