Saudi General Authority for Competition: BeIN Sports fined $2.6 million

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The General Authority for Competition has announced that the Qatari BeIN Sports network was fined 10 million SAR ($2.6 million) due to the network’s violations in the kingdom.

“The General Authority for Competition has since March 2016 received several complaints from BeIN subscribers due to its violation of competition rules in the kingdom. The authority’s board thus investigated these complaints and looked into the possibility that BeIN and relevant parties violated the competition’s regulations,” it said in a statement.

According to the authority, BeIN’s “exploitation” was evident via “monopolizing” practices such as forcing subscribers to subscribe to other non-sports channels, forcing those who wish to subscribe to renew their subscription for an entire year to watch Euro 2016 although their subscription covers the period of the tournament and adding the costs of watching other championships to the subscription fee although subscribers do not want to watch these other championships.

“These are clear violations of the competition’s rules. The board of directors thus decided to take the appropriate measures to end these practices and the monopoly violations committed by BeIN,” the statement said, adding that it has decided to impose the maximum daily fine which is estimated at 10,000 SAR.

BeIN Sports did not implement the decision’s articles and appealed the decision at the administrative court in Riyadh, however, the court rejected the lawsuit which BeIN Sports filed against the General Authority for Competition.

The General Authority for Competition thus issued a decision to transfer the case to the committee for adjudication which decided to punish the defendant, BeIN Sports, fine it 10 million SAR, completely cancel its license in Saudi Arabia and obligate it to return all the gains it made as a result of violations. The decision went into effect on the date it was issued.

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