Cable Fees Leave Soccer-Crazed Syrians Scrambling Before World Cup

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Moutaz, a university student living in Damascus's Bab Touma neighborhood, will watch his favorite teams play with friends at their favorite local cafe, saving them the subscription fee.

Many like Moutaz, including the capital's thousands of students, have opted to watch the games in cafes and restaurants. At the majority, there will be no set fee for watching, besides the cost of food, drinks or shisha. At a typical café here, non-alcoholic drinks range between 100 and 300 pounds, and hookahs between 175 and 400.

Others will turn to the internet, which has been the most-used channel for watching the Champions League and other international games since the start of the war. And the state-run Lebanese channel Télé Liban will be broadcasting the tournament on its terrestrial channel, meaning the residents of the Syrian provinces that pick up the channel will be able to watch the games on TV for free.

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