Saudi Arabia criticised over pirate TV service ‘that airs Premier League’


EU says country has failed to halt BeoutQ, which reportedly also airs La Liga and Serie A. Saudi Arabia has been named during a European commission report for its failure to clamp down on a homegrown pirate TV and streaming service that reportedly provides illegal access to prime content including Premier League football internationally.

The report has emerged at a sensitive time for Mike Ashley, the owner of Newcastle United, who is attempting to sell the Premier League club during a potential £340m deal led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund – prince Mohammed bin Salman’s investment vehicle. agen maxbet online

The biennial report lists the 13 countries the ecu commission deems have the worst diary for piracy and protecting property rights that “causes considerable harm to EU businesses”.

The Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and Uefa are understood to be among a minimum of eight rights holders and broadcasters to possess submitted official complaints concerning the Saudi-based pirate TV service within the consultation stage of the commission’s report.

The inclusion of Saudi Arabia within the report for the primary time follows two years of calls from sports bodies – including Fifa, Uefa, Germany’s Bundesliga, La Liga and Italy’s Serie A – also as broadcasters including the BBC, Sky and NBCUniversal for Saudi Arabia to dam the pirate service. The sporting bodies have attempted to require action in Saudi Arabia , but nine local legal firms declined to require on the copyright case.

The report, which aims to assist the ecu commission “focus efforts and resources” on tackling piracy, says that Saudi Arabia’s enforcement of property rights “features serious shortcomings”.

“Stakeholders report high-scale satellite and online piracy and ineffective enforcement measures to tackle them,” the report says. “An allegedly Saudi operator called BeoutQ currently makes available – without authorisation – content belonging to EU sport event organisers and EU right holders within the territory of Saudi Arabia , the center East and North Africa also as within the EU. Saudi Arabia has reportedly not taken sufficient steps to prevent the infringement despite the very fact that the satellite services of BeoutQ are being transmitted by the satellite of the partly state-owned Arabsat.”

The pirate TV service, which also provides access to illegal streaming apps, surged in popularity after making global headlines for broadcasting the whole football World Cup . The All England tennis Club has condemned BeoutQ for illegally streaming Wimbledon worldwide for the past two years.

BeoutQ was was launched in 2017 when Saudi Arabia mounted an economic boycott of Qatar. It initially only pirated the feed of Qatar’s beIN Media, which spends $15bn (£11.5bn) on sports rights and has 55 million pay-TV customers worldwide, as a part of a wider political dispute.

Saudi Arabia is known as as a “priority 3” country, which places it below countries including China and Russia which are ranked as “priority 1” and “priority 2” level infringers, although the ecu commission says any nation appearing on its list is causing considerable harm to businesses across Europe.

“Infringements of property , including piracy, threaten many thousands of jobs within the EU per annum ,” said Phil Hogan, the EU trade commissioner. “The information gathered within the report will enable us to become even more efficient in protecting EU firms and workers against property infringements like counterfeiting or copyright piracy.”

Yousef al-Obaidly, the chief executive of beIN Media Group, said: “The European commission’s latest report adds to the chorus of voices calling on Saudi Arabia to follow the foremost basic international norm – that’s to uphold the rule of law.”