Sources from beIN Sports have told Doha News that the reports circulating online of a 50bn SAR deal with the Saudi Public Investment Fund are untrue.
Social media users in Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been sharing fake news of a Saudi-Qatari alliance in the field of sports. The rumors state that the Saudi Public Investment Fund has struck a deal to purchase 25% of beIN Sports, the Qatari global network of sports channels, for SAR 50bn.
Users also claim that the network will be broadcasting all local, continental, and international tournaments of the Saudi clubs and teams.
Sources from beIN Sports have dismissed the baseless claims, stating that “the rumours circulating online are not true.” This includes other claims of Saudi presenters making a comeback to the channel.
Saudi’s relationship with beIN Sports
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed an illegal land, sea, and air blockade on Qatar.
Shortly after the start of the blockade, Saudi Arabia banned the the Qatari sports broadcasting giant. Briefly after, Saudi piracy outlet ‘beoutQ’ emerged, a pirate pay television broadcaster that primarily simulcasted the programmes of BeIN Sports.
However, the 10-channel piracy entity only survived for two years.
In June 2020, the World Trade Organization (WTO) found that Saudi Arabia had breached its obligations under the organisation’s Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (“TRIPS Agreement”) by refusing to take legal action against the Riyadh-linked pirate broadcaster “beoutQ”.
The WTO also found the Saudi government guilty of engaging “in the promotion of public gatherings with screenings of beoutQ’s unauthorised broadcasts” including the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Fast forward to January 2022, a year following a thaw in relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, both countries agreed to suspend appeals over the WTO report.
Additionally in October of last year, it was reported that Qatari and Saudi officials reached an agreement to lift the ban on beIn Sports in the country, after four and a half years.
However on Wednesday, a Saudi user tweeted inquiring as to why beIN Sports’ website is still blocked in the kingdom.