Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 September 2019

Arabsat welcomes French court ruling against 'false allegations' it pirated BeIN Sports World Cup matches

President of Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris court rejected all allegations made by Qatar-based BeIN media group against Arabsat about the Saudi Arabia network's links to BeoutQ

Saudi football supporters react while watching their national team play during their 2018 World Cup in Russia at a fan tent in the Red Sea coastal resort of Jeddah on June 20, 2018. AFP
Saudi football supporters react while watching their national team play during their 2018 World Cup in Russia at a fan tent in the Red Sea coastal resort of Jeddah on June 20, 2018. AFP

The Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Arabsat) has welcomed a French court ruling against "false allegations" made by Qatar's BeIN Sports that it was behind a television service that pirated the broadcast of 2018 World Cup games.

The President of Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris court rejected all allegations made by Qatar-based BeIN media group against Arabsat about the Saudi Arabia network's links to BeoutQ. BeoutQ broadcast matches live from last summer's World Cup in Russia despite BeIN Sports network holding the regional rights.

In a statement, Arabsat said: "The French judiciary’s ruling, rejecting BeIN’s lawsuit and allegations against Arabsat, has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt our organisation’s valid position from day one, despite BeIN Sports' attempts to cast doubt on that position; its media smear campaign; and its relentless attempts to push bogus and misleading claims.

The court’s "conviction of BeIN and its ruling that it pays unprecedented fines, as well as paying the prosecution costs represents justice and refutes all false accusations that Qatar’s BeIN Sports group tried to pin on Arabsat to cover its technical failure to address media piracy".

Arabsat called on international sporting federations to "not drift behind defamation attempts and misleading campaigns led by the BeIN... whose reputation has been tarnished by criminal investigations in France and Switzerland on charges of corruption and bribery."

Nasser Al Khelaifi, chairman of media group BeIN and president of football club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), is under formal investigation in France for alleged corruption over Qatari bids to host world athletics championships. Yousef Al Obaidly, chief executive of BeIN and a board member at PSG, was handed preliminary charges of corruption by a French judicial court on March 28.

Arabsat accused BeIN of leaking false information regarding the French court’s ruling "proving its dishonesty and lack of credibility".

Arabsat said it reserves the right to take legal action against BeIN for spreading false news.

BeIN Sports is blocked in Saudi Arabia under a boycott the kingdom imposed on Qatar in June 2017. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut all ties with Doha over its support of extremist groups and its interference in other countries’ affairs.

It remains unclear who owns and operates BeoutQ.

Updated: June 16, 2019 10:32 AM

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