Israel's World Cup debacle has made it as far as the UK's The Guardian newspaper.
Charlton, the company which has the World Cup rights in Israel is trying to make a killing by charging 492 Shekels (the figures quoted in the article are incorrect) to watch the world's most important sports competition which is free basically everywhere else in the world and has been in Israel up until now. The Israeli consumer doesn't like it and is letting Charlton, part owned by sports agent extraordinaire Pini Zahavi, know what he thinks by keeping his wallet in his pocket. The price has just been reduced to 308 shekels as, instead of having their predicted 150,000 customers signed up, as of last week the number was 1700.
The Guardian article reports that Prime Minister Olmert, a renowned football fan, announced last week that he was not one of the 1,700 as he too was waiting for the price to drop.
Charlton has made itself a whole lot of enemies - and threatening to send inspectors around to pubs, the most natural environment to watch a game, has only worsened matters for them. The World Cup, along with the Olympics and certain other sporting events should be free to watch - in other countries there is legislation to guarantee that certain sports events should be available to everyone. Any broadcaster with the rights to the World Cup will make a fortune in advertising and all the peripherals that go along with the contest.
Charlton should acknowledge the fact that they have been greedy and have underestimated the Israeli public. Make it free for all Pini!