Saudi welcomes FIFA move on beoutQ, calls for alternative to beIN in MENA

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Saudi Ministry of Media welcomed Thursday’s announcement by FIFA that it has engaged local counsel to take legal action in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to “combat the pirate entity named beoutQ, which continues its illegal piracy of 2018 FIFA World Cup broadcasts," according to an official statement.

“Doing so will supplement the relentless efforts by the KSA Ministry of Commerce and Investment in combating beoutQ’s activities and beIN’s illegal broadcasting within the country. These efforts and others reinforce the Government of Saudi Arabia’s devotion to protecting intellectual property (IP) rights within KSA,” the ministry statement added.

The ministry said that “While beoutQ‘s pirate broadcasts have been available in KSA, we understand that its set-top boxes are also available in, and its pirate broadcasts are targeted at, other nations in the Middle East North Africa region (MENA), including Qatar and Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, irresponsible media reports have falsely and unfairly connected KSA with beoutQ’s piracy."

The Ministry of Media understands "that such false and unfair connections are the work of beIN Sports, a subsidiary of the Al Jazeera Media Network (Al Jazeera) that has maliciously orchestrated a media smear campaign against KSA. beIN Sports purports to be the exclusive licensee of FIFA and other content owners for KSA and other other MENA region countries. KSA banned Al Jazeera because it is Qatar’s principal media arm for supporting terrorism and promoting instability in the region. Its network provides a media platform for terrorists to propagate their violent message. KSA was compelled to ban broadcasts by beIN Sports in KSA for the same reason and for beIN’s numerous legal violations in Saudi. See our prior press release at "

The ministry “further believes that beIN Sports engineered its media smear campaign against KSA to deflect attention away from scandals and threats that beIN Sports now faces. For example, beIN Sports – along with its chairman and president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, and FIFA former secretary general Jerome Valcke – is a subject of an ongoing criminal bribery, fraud, criminal mismanagement and forgery investigation instigated by the Office of Attorney General in Switzerland. The alleged criminal activity relates to FIFA’s award of media rights for certain countries for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups. Further, although beIN Sports claims to employ state-of-the-art anti-piracy technology, beoutQ’s ability to overcome such technology with ease provides motivation for beIN Sports to seek others to blame, rather than taking responsibility for its own technological shortcoming.”

Saudi Arabia reiterated, in the statement, its calls to “FIFA (and other rights holders) to distance themselves from beIN Sports and find alternative licensees for broadcasting sports in MENA. In KSA at least, Al Jazeera, beIN Sports and their affiliates will never be permitted to broadcast again.”

The statement added “KSA is governed by, observes and respects the rule of law. If FIFA has legitimate claims supported by reliable evidence, it can expect to receive justice at the hands of the independent courts of our nation consistent with KSA law.”

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