Qatar's BeIN sports network back on air in UAE

Qatar's BeIN sports network back on air in UAE
Subscribers to Qatar's BeIN sports network confirmed the channel was broadcasting in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, a month after it was blocked during the Gulf crisis.
2 min read
22 July, 2017
The channel was blocked as part of the Gulf-imposed sanctions on Qatar [Getty]

Qatar's BeIN sports network began broadcasting in the United Arab Emirates again on Saturday, according to subscribers, more than a month after it was blocked amid an ongoing Qatar blockade.

"We are again receiving the network of BeIN sports channels, distributed by Du," one of two telecommunications companies in the Emirates, one customer told AFP.

Etisalat, a UAE-based telecommunications giant, had also reinstated BeIN sports, according to several subscribers to its channels.

Customers were informed of the move in an email from Etisalat.

"We would like to advise that starting 22 July 2017 the BeIN package will be available to customers and normal charges will apply," the message said.

"The provision of the BeIN package will be subject to an ongoing review."

BeIN, which has the rights to broadcast hugely popular European football leagues, is a subsidiary of the Qatari satellite network Al-Jazeera, however the decision to reinstate the network remains unknown.

The sports network went offline in the United Arab Emirates last month when a bloc of Arab nations, led by Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and including the UAE, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

The bloc accused Qatar of backing extremism and fostering ties with their rival Iran, however the gas-rich emirate denies the allegations.

The move comes just hours after Qatar's Emir said Qatar will remain open in discussions, but any demands must not imperil Doha's right to independence and sovereignty.

In his first speech since the blockade was imposed, Sheikh Tamim the Gulf emirate is ready for talks to resolve a diplomatic crisis with a Saudi-led bloc so long as his country's sovereignty is respected.

On 5 June, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt cut all ties with Doha and began a blockade on the Gulf country.

The quartet closed Qatar's only land border, banned planes from their airspace, and barred Qatari nationals from passing through its airports.

The four Arab states accuse Qatar of ties to Iran and of funding Islamist extremist groups. Qatar has denied the accusations. 

Last month, the bloc issued a 13-point ultimatum to Qatar, which included demands to close a Turkish military base, shuttering Al Jazeera media network, and ending relations with Iran.

Qatar called the demands "unreasonable" and said it infringed on its "sovereignty". 

The Gulf crisis is the worst to hit the region since the establishment of the GCC in 1981.