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Sun 1 Nov 2009 12:59 PM

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20% of Mideast men confess to skipping work for TV sport

Sports addicts even admit to checking results when at family weddings.

A fifth of Middle Eastern men confess to skipping work if it clashes with an important sporting event, new research has revealed.

Almost half of the sports addicts polled in the UAE, Saudi and Egypt also admitted to checking on scores when at weddings or family celebrations, found football portal

The survey, commissioned through YouGov, polled 918 local and expatriate Arabs in the three countries, during ten days in September. The age range spanned 18 years, to above 40 years.

The results showed that 86 percent of men spent an average of 3.9 hours per week surfing sports websites, compared to 36 percent who spent an average of 1.6 hours per week on popular networking site Twitter.

Some four percent of the respondents confessed to spending 16 hours or more per week looking for sports news online.

Football was by far the most popular sport among respondents, with 92 percent identifying it as one of their favourite games. Tennis and Volleyball came in a distant second and third with 30 percent and 27 percent of the votes, respectively. Ricky Ghai, head of digital media at Abu Dhabi Media Company, the parent company of, said that football was a predictable favourite.

“The results come as no surprise, particularly in the Middle East where sport in general and football in particular forms an important part of the average male’s media consumption,” he said.

Football portal, which launched in October, combines breaking news and scores, alongside live match streaming, editorial and commentary.