FIFA backs Qatar in $1bn complaint against Saudi-linked piracy of sports TV

FIFA backs Qatar in $1bn complaint against Saudi-linked piracy of sports TV

Qatar has complained that a Saudi-linked illegal channel has been using BeIN's live sports broadcasts.
2 min read
22 January, 2019
beIN Sports has complained about the theft of their broadcasts [Getty]

FIFA and other global sporting bodies have backed Qatar in its battle against a Saudi-linked channel accused of illegally streaming Doha-based BeIN Sport's live broadcasts.

A joint statement issued by FIFA, UEFA, the Asian Football Confederation, as well as the biggest football leagues - the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga, all backed Doha in its battle against sports piracy.

Qatar had complained that the Saudi-backed pirate network beoutQ has illegally screened BeIN  Sport's content, including English, Spanish and German football games.

It comes after a blockade on Qatar by Saudi Arabia in 2017, when the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt after the states accused Doha of backing terrorism and being too close to Iran - claims strongly denied by the Gulf state.

The Saudi-led bloc has looked to isolate Qatar, including BeIN Sports which was blocked in some of the countries.

The Qatari channel has the rights for some of the most popular sporting events such as the English Premier League and Asian Cup, leading to the beoutQ network to illegally stream and make available these games for sports fans in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

The piracy of last year's World Cup and Champions League has continued with the Asian Cup, which the UAE is hosting.

The statement said the money generated from broadcast rights helps "grow the sports of which we are guardians" and "piracy kills that investment".

Legal action in Saudi Arabia is being considered.

Earlier this month, BeIN media group on Wednesday stepped up its war on beoutQ by launching a website exposing what it says is widescale theft of its TV programmes.

It has launched a compensation claim worth $1 billion against the Saudi piracy channel, while Qatar filed an action at the World Trade Organisation. No progress on the claims have been reported to date.