Yemens famous sports commentators to the YT: Sports are enslaved by business, globalization and monopoly [Archives:2001/52/Interview]

December 24 2001

Ali Hamoud Al-Asry, Head of the Sports Department at the Yemen Satellite Channel (YSC), has been known to Yemenis since he started appearing on TV commenting on football matches and as a host of many of the sports programs. Presently, he is broadcasting the Sports Studio Program.
His views on sports, sportsmen, especially footballers always make a controversy nationwide. Nabeel al-Kumaim met with him and filed the following interview.
Q: May you give us a brief account of yourself?
A: I have a diploma in athletics from the University of Liebzg University in Germany. I have had a number of related courses, as well. I have also participated in many sports seminars in and outside Yemen.
I joined TV in 1975 as a broadcaster. In 1979 I was appointed Chief of Broadcasters. During this period I presented several sports programs plus broadcasting news.
Q:What is your experience as a sportsman and a commentator on football matches?
A: I used to play for the al-Wahda Team. After that I was selected a member of the national team. This, in fact, helped me be more professional in my work here.
As a commentator on football matches, Ihave attended more than twenty overseas courses on Arabic commentary on sports events. Iwas honored by the Arab Radio Union in Sydney and in Los Angles in 1984
Q: You are the only broadcaster that does not read from papers or monitors? Why?
A: I dont care about composition. My rich background of sports enables me to provide correct information on related events
Q:Why arent there many sports commentators in Yemen?
A: The point is that, who are trying to be commentators are not well qualified. But I promise when I find any qualified young people to do this job Iwill give them the chance to replace me.
Q: Have you thought of working for other Arab satellite channels?
A: Personally, I dont like to travel much. Despite the big difference in payments one can get, I dont want to leave my family.
Two years ago an A.R.T TV channel offered me to be their correspondent in Yemen. One of the reasons for my apology was the fact that here in Yemen you can not ensure that the matches will take place on time and in the planned place. After that I was given an opportunity to work for it as an anchorman for some of its sports programs. But this did not lure my to leave my country.
Q:Have you broadcasted other different programs?
A:Four years ago, I appeared in a papular children program called (Grand Prize.) Students of 18 schools participated in that program which was a sort of a competition among students. It was a successful experience.
Q: What about your sarcastic comments on the national sports and sportsmen, especially footballers?
A: Frankly speaking, sports in our country are not developed enough to be satisfactory. Some games organized in the city zones are better than those organized at the level of the country.
Icriticize footballers because I used to be a player and I know more about our current circumstances.
I do not criticize without knowledge of the game.
Q: If you were the Minister of Youth and Sports, what would be your priorities?
A: I would cancel elections. Instead, I would appoint whom Isee qualified to run the sports affairs. Iwould also set a separated budget for youth centers.
Q: There are a lot of pay-satellite-TV-channels? What do you think of this phenomenon?
A:Sports have become a business for many. It is a pity that many will not be able to watch the 2002 World Cup football matches because they will be monopolized by the A.R.T. Other Satellite channels have to pay USD 16,000 plus USD 10,000 as services to obtain the right to broadcast the matches.
The Arab TV Union agreed to pay to the tune of USD 100 million to get the land TVchannels the right to telecast the matches.
It is worth mentioning that Italy announced that It would not be broadcasting the matches. Nowadays, sports have become enslaved by business, globalization and monopoly.
Q:What are your future plans?
A: Iwill leave sports programs and sports life once Ifind a suitable candidate to replace me.
Q: What is your advice for the Yemeni youths?
A: They should not lose hope. Loss of hope means loss of everything. They should also practice sports and give up smoking.
Q: Any last comments?
A: I would like to thank the Yemen Times newspaper. Its founder, Dr. Abdulaziz al-Saqqaf was with us in the TV station in the last decades giving us information on English sports terms. He was really a father for all of us. May his soul rest in peace.