Facebook to broadcast La Liga games for free in Indian subcontinent

In this file photo, Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring his second goal during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Girona FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on Feb. 24, 2018. (LLUIS GENE/AFP)
Updated 14 August 2018
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Facebook to broadcast La Liga games for free in Indian subcontinent

MADRID: Lionel Messi, Gareth Bale and a host of La Liga stars will be beamed for free to viewers in the Indian subcontinent as part of a landmark deal with Facebook to broadcast live matches, the Spanish top flight division said Tuesday.
All 380 football matches of the new 2018-2019 La Liga season, which begins Friday, will be available to watch on the social media network in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, La Liga said in a statement.
“We are delighted to team up with Facebook and be able to bring the action closer to all followers of La Liga in the Indian subcontinent,” said La Liga President Javier Tebas.
“La liga is a reference in world football and it is a great satisfaction for us that now, the number of people who can watch matches live in this geographic area will be greater than ever and they will be able to do so for free through Facebook.”
The deal will last for the next three seasons and will include pre- and post-match analysis programs.
The financial details of the agreement were not disclosed in the statement but Spanish sports daily Marca reported that the deal was worth 90 million euros ($105.5 million).
In June La Liga announced it had renewed its contract for five seasons, between 2019-2024, for the international broadcast rights for the Spanish championship for around 4.48 billion euros — or about 896 million euros per season, a 30 percent increase over the previous agreement.
Facebook earlier this month agreed a deal with UK broadcaster Eleven Sports to show one La Liga and one Serie A game per week on its platform.
Five-time World Player of the Year Ronaldo’s Serie A debut with Juventus at Chievo on August 18, and Atletico Madrid’s La Liga opener at Valencia two days later are among the matches scheduled for free-to-air viewing. Barcelona’s visit to Valladolid on August 25 is also included.
“This partnership reflects our commitment to helping broadcasters reach new audiences, build their brands and deliver a great viewing experience for sports fans on Facebook,” Rhys Beer, Facebook’s live sports programming lead for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said at the time.
The deal is just the latest step toward the online sector securing lucrative live football contracts after Amazon secured the rights to show 20 Premier League matches a season for three years in the UK, starting from the 2019/20 season in June.
The US company breaks up the recent dominance of Sky and BT Sport of lucrative Premier League TV rights in a first for the online sector that is threatening to shake up the traditional sports rights market.
India has billion-plus mobile phone users — more than any other country on earth — and close to half a billion people with Internet access, most via their smartphones, that make streaming video from sites like Facebook possible.


Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

Updated 20 July 2019
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Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

  • Bounedjah gave Algeria a dream start in the second minute
  • For Senegal, who lost to Algeria by the same scoreline in the group stage, the long wait for a first continental crown goes on

CAIRO: Baghdad Bounedjah’s early goal propelled Algeria to a first Africa Cup of Nations title in 29 years after a fiery 1-0 victory over Sadio Mane’s Senegal in Friday’s final in Cairo.

Bounedjah gave Algeria a dream start in the second minute when his deflected shot looped over Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis, and it proved enough for the 1990 champions to lift the trophy on foreign soil for the first time.

For Senegal, who lost to Algeria by the same scoreline in the group stage, the long wait for a first continental crown goes on as coach Aliou Cisse, the captain of the 2002 runners-up, again fell short in the final.

It was the first title-decider to feature two African coaches since 1998, with Algeria boss Djamel Belmadi completing a whirlwind 12 months at the helm after inheriting a side that failed to make it out of the group stage two years ago.

With defensive rock Kalidou Koulibaly suspended for Senegal, Salif Sane deputised at the back and Ismaila Sarr was recalled in attack, while Belmadi kept faith in the same side that overcame Nigeria with an injury-time free-kick from Riyad Mahrez.

Senegal had understandably feared the absence of Napoli star Koulibaly, banned after two bookings in the knockout rounds, although the towering Sane was desperately unlucky as Algeria grabbed the lead with scarcely a minute played.

As Bounedjah took aim from 20 yards his effort smacked off Sane and arced high into the air before dropping underneath the crossbar and beyond a static Gomis, sparking delirious celebrations from both players and fans, some of whom arrived for the final on military planes provided by the Algerian government.

It was the first time Gomis had conceded in almost 400 minutes in Egypt having replaced the injured Edouard Mendy ahead of Senegal’s final group game.

Henri Saivet, who missed a penalty in the 1-0 victory over Tunisia, tried to catch Rais Mbohli out with a free-kick while Mbaye Niang fizzed a powerful drive just over as Senegal gradually showed signs of life before the half ended with both sets of players embroiled in a scuffle as they headed for the tunnel.

Senegal thought they had won a penalty on the hour when Cameroonian referee Alioum Alioum pointed to the spot for a suspected handball by Adlene Guedioura, but the official reversed his decision after a VAR review.

Niang rounded an advancing Mbohli after a searching ball through from Cheikhou Kouyate but the forward sliced wide of the target from a tough angle, with the Algeria ‘keeper then acrobatically tipping over a rasping drive from Youssouf Sabaly.

The Desert Foxes started to look jaded as Senegal brought on fresh legs in Krepin Diatta and Mbaye Diagne, but Youcef Belaili nearly made it 2-0 when his cross brushed the head of a defender and skimmed the roof of the net.

Sarr blazed over on the volley as Algeria clung on to their advantage in the closing minutes, the final whistle greeted by an outpouring of raw emotion as the North Africans emerged worthy winners of the expanded 24-team event.

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman telephoned Algeria’s interim president Abdelkader Bensalah to congratulate him on Algeria’s African Cup of Nations win, with Bensalah thanking the king for his phone call.