Twitter users flooded TOD.tv’s account with messages pleading for a refund of their subscription fees, posting with the hashtag “Media ministry blocks TOD.”
Saudi Arabia have disrupted BeIN Sports’ popular TOD.tv streaming service since the beginning of the World Cup, ending ten months of uninterrupted service, Reuters reported.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is broadcast exclusively online by Qatar’s BeIN Sports on platforms like TOD.tv for viewers in the Middle East and North Africa.
Fans who tried to access TOD.tv from Saudi Arabia have been direct to a page saying: “Sorry, the requested page is violating the regulations of the ministry of media.” Satellite dishes could still access BeIN channels.
On November 24, TOD.tv informed its Saudi Arabian subscribers that there was a problem.
“Due to matters beyond our control, we are experiencing an outage in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is currently impacting TOD.tv, the official streaming partner of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” the company said in a email obtained by Reuters.
The Saudi government’s communications office did not comment, nor did FIFA.
BeIN also did not respond to requests for comment.
After the outage, Twitter users flooded TOD.tv’s account with messages asking for a refund of their subscription fees, posting with the hashtag: “Media ministry blocks TOD.”
The World Cup opening ceremony was attended by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. At Saudi Arabia’s first game, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani wore a Saudi flag around his neck, which many interpreted as signalling warmer in relations between the two nations.
Qatar and Saudi Arabia have improved diplomatic ties following the 2017 boycott led by Riyadh over allegations that Doha supported terrorism. Qatar has long denied the allegations.
Saudi Arabia also blocked beIN that year.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) determined in 2020 that Saudi Arabia had violated international laws governing intellectual property rights by failing to bring legal action against the pirate TV channel beoutQ for copying beIN’s content.
The licence for beIN Sports was revoked the same year by Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Competition. It resumed broadcasting in 2021.