UAE fans face Gulf Cup blackout

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They may be favourites to claim back-to-back Gulf Cup titles, but fans in the may not be able to share the joy after a standoff over television rights.

With just one day until the tournament starts in Saudi Arabia, all UAE sports channels have united to boycott the package being offered by international media rights company MP & Silva.

A report in Gulf News today says MP & Silva initially provided a quote of $8 million to Dubai and Abu Dhabi Sports channels, a sharp rise on the $3m paid for rights to last year’s Gulf Cup in Bahrain.

“The Dubai Sports Channel offered a final price of $5 million to MP & Silva and they did not even bother to reply to our letter,” Rashid Al Amiri, General Manager of Dubai Sports Channel, told Gulf News.

“When they first send us a quote, it was for $8 million. Two weeks later they sent us a fresh letter saying that the rights can be bought for $15 million. None of us have been able to understand the rationale behind this.

“So two days back we all decided to boycott the purchase.”

The UAE are in Group B alongside Oman, Iraq and Kuwait and open their Gulf Cup campaign against Oman at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium in Riyadh on Friday afternoon (local time).