Qatar-based BeIN asks Italian football teams not to play game in Saudi Arabia

Qatar-based BeIN asks Italian football teams not to play game in Saudi Arabia
An Italian football game is due to be held in Saudi Arabia.
2 min read
11 January, 2019
BeIN is urging Italian Serie A reconsider its game in Saudi Arabia [Getty]

Qatar-based sports broadcaster beIN has called on the Italian football league to cancel a game due to be played in Saudi Arabia due to the kingdom's human rights abuses.

The Italian Super Cup match between Juventus and AC Milan will be held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia next week with tickets selling out in two days.

BeIN Sports, which has TV rights to the game, has urged Serie A "whether it is appropriate to proceed with the Super Cup match in Jeddah when other options remain available even at this late stage".

The move is due to Saudi Arabia's blockade on Qatar - along with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt - since June 2017, after accusations that the Gulf state supports terrorism, something strongly denied by Doha.

Calls have also been made for a boycott of the Serie A clash - which could feature Juventus star Christiano Ronaldo - due to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi operatives, a hundred days ago.

BeIN - which is scrambled in most of has blockading states - has also complained about its broadcasts being pirated by "beoutQ" in Saudi Arabia, including Italian Serie A games.

BeIN CEO Yousef al-Obaidly has asked Serie A's Luigi De Siervo to "join the international sporting community's fight against piracy by beoutQ" he wrote, according to Al Jazeera.

"Of all the countries in the world that you could have chosen to host your game, you have chosen the one country that is state-supporting the theft of your content on an industrial scale," he added.

"If the game goes ahead, Serie A will have failed to uphold its duty to its member clubs and the wider sporting community ... whose intellectual property rights, and revenue streams, are threatened by beoutQ's actions."

BeIN is also pushing the World Trade Organisation to take action against beoutQ's illegal broadcasts.