Premier League smartcards go on sale

Football fans can now prepare for the the big kick-off on August 14 by buying a smartcard that will give them live access to 380 games.

ABU DHABI // Football fans can now prepare for the English Premier League's big kick-off on August 14 by buying a new HD decoder and smartcard that will give them live access to all 380 games being played during the coming season Former international footballers Ian Rush, Steve McManaman and Marcel Desailly will present the first show by AD Sports, a special preview programme on August 13. AD Sports is owned by Abu Dhabi Media Company, publishers of The National.

The following day, Manchester City's trip to Tottenham Hotspur's White Hart Lane will provide AD Sports' first Arabic match-day broadcast. Mohammed Najeeb, Osama al Amiri, Haitham al Hamadi and Hamed al Harthriy will present the opening match live from a studio in North London. Exclusive Arabic programming on AD Sports 3 and 4 will regularly include shows such as Inside the Premier League, The Premier League Live, Football Fever and Final Score.

Spearheading AD Sports English coverage on channels 5 and 6 will be John Dykes, who presented the Premier League for ESPN Star Sports. He will be joined by Mark Pougatch, a former presenter on the BBC's Match of the Day. AD Sports' flagship English channel, AD Sports 5, will offer 24/7 coverage of the Premier League with exclusive programming which will include preview and review shows, news updates, and in-depth analysis from former players and managers. AD Sports 6 will also transmit Premier League action. When there are more than four games on simultaneously, other channels will be used, and all 380 Premier League matches will be shown live.

To get access to the games, fans in the Emirates can subscribe in three different ways: Buy the new Humax HD decoder and smartcard for Dh999. Upgrade existing packages through local IPTV (cable) providers such as Etisalat and du.

Sign up to stream the matches online. If you need a decoder, they, like the smartcards, are on sale at Carrefour outlets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and should be available by the end of the week in other outlets like DXB Union Co-op, LuLu Hypermarkets, Sharaf DG electronic stores, AD Co-op, Geant in Ibn Battuta Mall, and Hyperpanda. Those wishing to subscribe to the matches from their current cable providers, can call E-vision or Etisalat on 800 101 or 101, and du on 04 390 5555, and ask for their existing package to be upgraded. Du customers can subscribe to all the new channels for Dh31 per month, while Etisalat have announced that current subscribers will receive the service for free. Viewers can also visit the websites of the providers and upgrade online.

Viewers in other GCC countries can gain access by contacting their local providers or satellite dealers from the first week of August. In Qatar, viewers can call Qtel on 111, in Bahrain NueTel on 160 33000. In Kuwait, viewers can purchase the decoders from leading outlets for electronics such as Carrefour, Geant and LG Stores from tomorrow, while fans in Saudi Arabia can similarly get them in the first week in August. Customers in Oman will have to contact local dealer Mustafa Sultan. Live online streaming on is not yet available, but viewers in GCC countries subscribing in August can pay a promotional price of Dh270 for the season, while those outside the GCC will pay Dh170. After that, the package will cost fans living in the GCC Dh370 per season, less than Dh10 per match, while those living in non-GCC countries will have to pay Dh220.

Steve McManaman Made his first professional appearance for Liverpool in 1990 and went on to play for Real Madrid as well as Manchester City. The midfielder gained 37 caps for England before he retired from professional football in 2005. He took up a career in commentary and match analysis and spent the 2010 World Cup working as a pundit for the Entertainment Sports Programming Network (ESPN), an American cable television network. Marcel Desailly The French World Cup 1998 winner is no stranger to the Gulf. He finished his career in Qatar in 2006 after playing in the French, English and Italian leagues. For six years, he played for Premier League club Chelsea. He caused some controversy when he chose to play for France and not his home country of Ghana. He went on to win the World Cup in 1998 and made 116 appearances for Les Blues. Ian Rush A Welsh international, he is an experienced TV pundit, switching jobs after his retirement. He started his footballing career in 1978 for Chester City and then spent 15 years at Liverpool, beginning at the start of the 1980 season. The 1987-88 season was spent playing for Juventus in Italy but he returned to Liverpool. He is the second highest FA Cup scorer of all time and also holds the goalscoring record for Liverpool, 346. He retired from playing in 1999 and had a stint as manager of Chester City in 2004-5.

This article has been altered. The original neglected to state that people wishing to use the service with a smartcard will need to buy a new Humax HD decoder.