beIN claims Saudi impasse in World Cup rights talks | Broadcast | News | Rapid TV News
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Qatar’s beIN Media claims it has been unable to reach a deal with Saudi Arabia to show World Cup games, with just over a week to go before the Kingdom takes on Russia in the tournament’s opening match.

beIN logo 6 June 2018The broadcast group said world football’s governing body FIFA had assisted in contract negotiations, as the Saudis would not deal directly with Qatari officials due to a year-long diplomatic dispute.

“We have been doing everything we can over the past few days and weeks to agree a sub-licensing deal in Saudi Arabia,” said a spokesperson for beIN. “While there were preliminary discussions, there has been no agreement on price, or indeed any of the main terms of a sub-licence, by Saudi Arabia.”

“beIN remains absolutely open and available to discuss the sub-licence broadcast of FIFA World Cup 2018.”

The statement comes after beIN asked FIFA to take legal action against pirate broadcasters in Saudi Arabia ahead of the World Cup, which begins on 14 June.

beIN says the expensively purchased broadcast rights it has secured for major sporting events in the Middle East and North Africa are being undermined by pirate broadcasters operating out of Saudi Arabia.

The Qatari company claims that since October 2017, “a vast and sophisticated Saudi bootlegging network known as ‘beoutQ’ – using a signal from Riyadh-based satellite provider Arabsat – had been illegally transmitting its broadcasts”.

beIN Media channels have been off air in Saudi Arabia since the country severed ties with Doha on 5 June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism and backing Iran. Saudi Arabia was joined by the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt in its blockade of Qatar.

Qatar denies the charges and says the dispute is an attack on its sovereignty.

Four beIN Sports Max channels showing FIFA World Cup football will now be carried by du in the UAE, after the two Gulf companies resolved their contractual dispute.

Abu Dhabi-headquartered Etisalat is also carrying beIN Sports channels during the month-long football fiesta, despite the UAE’s continued separation from Qatar.