beIN Sports has added Saudi presenter Tariq Al-Hammad to its line-up of journalists ahead of the start of Qatar’s World Cup 2022.
Saudi presenter Tariq Al-Hammad has joined beIN Sports after bidding farewell to the Saudi Sports Company (SSC).
This is not Al-Hammad’s first contract with a Qatar-based channel as he has previously worked with Al Jazeera Sports during his 20 years of experience in the media industry. Al-Hammad will be on screens alongside beIN’s other seasoned presenters, including Andy Kerr, Mohammed Saadon Al-Kuwari, and Asya Abdullah.
“He joins us during a truly remarkable time, as we gear up the best team to broadcast the most prestigious international sporting event – the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – exclusively in the region,” said Mohammed Al-Bader, Managing Director of beIN Channels.
In December of last year, Al-Hammad, praised Qatar’s organisation of the FIFA Arab Cup, which he had visited Doha to attend.
beIN Sports’ relationship with Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed an illegal land, sea, and air blockade on Qatar in June 2017.
Following the blockade, Saudi Arabia banned the Qatari sports broadcasting giant, an action that was followed by the emergence of a Saudi piracy outlet called ‘beoutQ’. The now-closed pirate bay television broadcaster primarily simulcasted beIN Sports programmes.
beIN Sports has long included many Saudis in its broadcasts, most notably Sami Al-Jaber, Nawaf Al-Timyat, and Fahd Al-Otaibi.
However, that all came to an end in 2017 as Saudi sports commentators, analysts, and presenters, withdrew from Qatar’s beIN Sports channels, amid the severing of ties between both gulf nations.
During the height of the blockade, Saudi, Emirati, and Bahraini governments put pressure on their nationals who worked for Qatar’s media industry giants to resign. At the time, reports also emerged stating that Saudi journalists, including Aljazeera’s Ali Al-Dhafiri, were threatened by their government.
The blockade ended in January of last year. Since then, some of those who left have returned.
Al-Jazeera has recently announced the return of Al-Dhafiri to its screens once again. Four years had passed since Al-Dhafiri resigned from his 13 years-long role in the channel because of the Gulf Crisis.