World Cup TV disruption was 'sabotage'

Al Jazeera blames location in Jordan for jamming live broadcast of football matches.

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The company said it had hired international technology experts to identify the problem and has asked the Jordanian government to provide an explanation of the incident. Football fans across the Middle East and North Africa were left furious as television images of matches from South Africa either froze or cut out. "An extensive investigation carried out by multiple teams of independent international technology experts identified the exact location from where the disruption of Al Jazeera Sports' broadcast of the 2010 Fifa World Cup originated," the broadcaster said.

"A location based in Jordan was used to deliberately jam the satellite signal causing the live broadcast of the World Cup to be interrupted during numerous matches. Douglas Sheer, a telecommunications analyst based in the US, said satellite signals can be hampered by the weather, a technical breakdown or malicious damage. "Disruption by a third party is plausible but who knows," he said. "Malicious damage is a possibility and where and how they would find the source of it is very tricky. They would have to do some real technical forensic work to find to it."

However, an Al Jazeera spokesman said: "This action targeted Al Jazeera and was intentionally designed to deprive millions of fans. "It is alarming that the source of the interruption is in fact from inside the Arab world. We will be requesting the Jordanian government to provide a full explanation." At the time Fifa, world football's governing body, condemned the disruption. Al Jazeera estimated that about 85 million viewers tuned into its coverage of the first match. The station launched 12 alternative satellite signals to cover the World Cup in different languages and formats including 3D and HD.