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Relief for viewing centre operators, as Russia 2018 World Cup kicks off

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Ugandan men watch the first match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup between Russia and Saudi Arabia on TV at a sports betting shop in Kampala, Uganda, on June 14, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Isaac Kasamani

Barely a month ago, the top five leagues and the Champions League were wrapped up, and since then, the atmosphere around football viewing centres have been different, leaving some operators in economic troubles.

The end of the season to some fans is another season won, with additions to trophy cabinet and better bragging rights.

To others, it was one to forget, due to their team’s inability to clinch one or two tittle, as they would have love. All for bragging rights.

But, beyond the players, the mangers and the tactics, there is the joy and agony of victory or defeat for passionate football fans, who game after game, troop to various viewing centre to cheer their team.

Their fanatics, noise, arguments and some heated cases of quarrels amounts to a level of income for viewing centre operators in many parts of the world, particularly in Nigeria.

In a visit to few viewing centres, some operators, whose major means of livelihood depends on monies paid by teeming football fans to watch matches spoke with The Guardian in lamentations and complain.

For the owner of a guest house, Mr. Segun Raphael, sales and patronage of customers has drastically reduced after the league season, noting the he was forced to sell some items cheaper than normal price to attract customers.

Raphael said the level of optimism for income during the World Cup in Russia is very high.

“With the World Cup starting at this period, we are relieved.

We have circulated FIFA 2018 cards to our customers via social media and we are very definite that the competition will improve our sales and patronage.”


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