beIN threatens AFC with legal action over streaming Saudi club matches | Pay-TV | News | Rapid TV News
By continuing to use this site you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our privacy policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them. [Close]
beIN Media is to launch an international legal dispute against the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) after the sporting body said it will live-stream Asian Champions League matches into Saudi Arabia.
AFC Champions League landsc 13 March 19 copy
beIN holds the regional media rights across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for all AFC Asian Champions League matches. The Qatar-based group claims the decision - which only affects matches played by the Saudi Arabian clubs in the tournament - is a material breach of its multi-million dollar broadcast agreement.

The AFC said it will live-stream Saudi-related matches into Saudi Arabia geo-blocked on the AFC’s Facebook Live and YouTube channels, as Saudi Arabia has banned the reception of beIN in the Kingdom.

In a statement, beIN claimed the Confederation’s action "undermines the central condition of its regional broadcast agreement...namely the grant of exclusive rights [to beIN]". The media group been the AFC’s broadcast partner in MENA and other territories for almost a decade.

“The AFC’s decision to live-stream directly into Saudi Arabia on the AFC’s own digital platforms is a material breach of our multi-million dollar regional broadcast agreement and we will immediately be launching a major international dispute to recover damages and protect our position. The AFC’s decision is not only a self-harming commercial decision and a clear political play with Saudi Arabia, but most damagingly it will impact rights holders across sports and entertainment around the world,” said Yousef Al-Obaidly, CEO, beIN Media Group.

Every game of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup featuring 24 national teams across Asia was broadcast illegally in January on beoutQ, the sophisticated pirate TV network which beIN Media claims hails from Saudi Arabia.

“There is now no guaranteed protection of intellectual property in the region due to the AFC in effect endorsing Saudi Arabia’s theft of world sport and wholesale disregard for the international rule of law,” added Al-Obaidly.