Qatar’s BeIN Sports Says It Has Proof of Saudi Role in Piracy Dispute

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“The reports speak for themselves,” said Cameron Andrews, the executive responsible for coordinating beIN’s antipiracy operation. “There’s no possible way these internationally well-known firms would compromise their reputations.”

Arabsat and its outside legal counsel, Squire Patton Boggs, did not respond to a request for comment on the most recent beIN accusations, or the companies’ findings. Saudi Arabia’s media ministry acknowledged receiving a request for comment but did not provide one.

In June, the punishing blockade being enforced by a Saudi-led coalition entered its second year. Last year, the countries in the coalition — Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Bahrain and Egypt — accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and criticized its relationship with Iran. In addition to a trade embargo, the countries cut off diplomatic ties, closed borders and set up the blockade of the energy-rich emirate, shutting off Qatar’s access to many of the region’s ports and much of its airspace. Qatar has denied the accusations, and has noted the assistance it has provided to the United States in its war on terrorism.

Saudi Arabia has also been lobbying international sports organizations to end their agreements with beIN Sports, frustrating those unwilling to be drawn into what they consider a political, rather than a sporting, dispute. In the middle of the World Cup, for example, Saudi Arabia’s sports minister, Turki al-Shiekh, took to Twitter to call on FIFA to break its contract with beIN, before making a personal attack on the European soccer head Aleksander Ceferin. Ceferin’s organization, UEFA, had a few hours earlier released a statement saying beoutQ was based in Saudi Arabia and had been pirating its content.

FIFA announced last month that it had hired lawyers to take action specifically in Saudi Arabia, and it said that the organization “is working alongside other sports-rights owners that have also been affected to protect its interest.”

BeIN is relying on the help; while it has begun legal actions in the United States and France, it has been unsuccessful in its attempts to find lawyers willing to represent its interests in Saudi Arabia because of the broader embargo.



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