Al Jazeera Sport will boast a star-studded line-up of current and former football legends as part of its coverage for the upcoming Premier League season, the channel’s presenters told Arabian Business.
Alongside anchor Richard Keys and pundit Andy Gray, live guests during the season’s coverage will include Alan Shearer, Kevin Keegan, John Barnes, Ruud Gullit, Glenn Hoddle and Ray Wilkins.
“We’re organising a raft of guests – Qatar will be flooded by quality ex and current footballers, who will be coming to join Richard and I, and offer their expertise,” Gray told Arabian Business during an exclusive interview in Doha.
The Qatari broadcaster this month announced it had secured the exclusive media rights to broadcast all Premier League matches across MENA for the next three seasons, as well as Champions League games.
Gray and Keys will together present ‘Super Saturday’, ‘Sunday Special’ and a Monday night football show. The season kicks off on August 17 and Al Jazeera Sport will launch three dedicated, high-definition channels to carry its live coverage.
Prior to joining Al Jazeera Sport, Keys and Gray spent more than 20 years fronting Sky Sports’ Premier League coverage in the UK, before going on to host a popular radio show on London’s TalkSport.
“It’s really exciting. There’s a lot of similarities in what we’re doing now to what we were doing 20 years ago,” said Gray. “They were creating a new team then, and they’re doing exactly the same here. We’ve been asked to front it, and this time around the only difference is we’ve got 22 years of experience we can call upon.”
Keys added that he expected Al Jazeera Sport’s coverage of the upcoming Premier League season to surpass that he and Gray were part of at Sky Sport. “I’ve personally promised [Al Jazeera Sport’s boss Nasser Al Khelaifi] that we will make this better than the product we were once part of at Sky. With [Al Jazeera’s] ambition and cash, and our experience and desire I don’t see why we can’t do that,” he said.