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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

UAE's National Media Council: Saudi efforts against World Cup TV pirates beoutQ 'relentless'

Calls for review of beIN Sports legal status for involving 'sports into politics'

Egypt's Mohamed Salah in action with Saudi Arabia's Motaz Hawsawi during the 2018 World Cup. Damir Sagolj / Reuters
Egypt's Mohamed Salah in action with Saudi Arabia's Motaz Hawsawi during the 2018 World Cup. Damir Sagolj / Reuters

The National Media Council said Saudi Arabia has taken frequent and effective measures to fight TV piracy during the World Cup.

The NMC hit out at Qatari authorities for trying to drag Riyadh into its battle with a channel illegally broadcasting its coverage in Russia.

Qatar-based beIN Sports holds the Middle East and North Africa TV rights to the tournament and has been attempting to stop the illegal broadcast of its feed in Saudi Arabia during the tournament. The beIN Sports network has been blocked in the kingdom Arabia following the trade and diplomatic boycott imposed on Doha a year ago by its neighbours over its support of extremist groups.

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''The NMC appreciates relentless efforts being exerted by the Saudi Ministry of Media in fighting media piracy by a pirate entity named ‘beoutQ’, as part of Saudi government's commitment to protecting IP rights,'' the council said, according to Wam.

Fifa has engaged counsel to take legal action in Saudi Arabia against beoutQ and was working alongside other sports rights owners that have also been affected to protect its interest. BeoutQ is widely available in the kingdom, but Riyadh says it is not based there and that the authorities are combating the channel's activities.

''Qatar is trying to cover its clear technical failure of protecting its sports channels against piracy,'' the NMC said.

The Council condemned Qatar's attempts to involve its beIN Sports network in politics, including through its programming which has targeted Saudi and other Arab countries and called for a review of its legal status in the countries in which it broadcasts.