Newcastle takeover: Saudi Arabia rolls back beIN Sport ban after four and a half years
Saudi Arabia has reversed its decision to ban beIN Sport – the official Premier League broadcaster in the Middle East – from operating in the country.
Athleticism understands that beIN will no longer be banned from operating in the kingdom, ending a four-and-a-half-year ban.
The reversal means Premier League, UEFA and FIFA matches will again be legally broadcast in the country.
The news could also have repercussions on Potential takeover of Newcastle by a Saudi consortium, also with Amanda Staveley and the Reuben brothers.
The consortium attempted to buy Newcastle from Mike Ashley for £ 300million. But he then ended his offer to buy the club as the deal was being considered by the Premier League.
Under the deal, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), reportedly acquired an 80% stake in the Premier League club.
The Premier League has ruled that members of the ruling government in Saudi Arabia will become directors of the club and therefore should be subject to the owners and directors test – a matter which is still being arbitrated.
The reversal meanwhile ends long dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
In 2018, Qatar filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) claiming that Saudi Arabia was preventing beIN – a Qatari company – from broadcasting in the kingdom.
The beIN company subsequently launched an international investment arbitration against Saudi Arabia for damages totaling more than $ 1 billion.
Qatar has also accused Saudi Arabia of failing to take effective action against alleged piracy of beIN content by beoutQ, a pirate broadcaster.
Saudi Arabia’s decision to revoke its ban on beIN Sport will result in the beoutQ operation being deactivated. The international investment arbitration of beIN Sport will also come to an end.
Saudi Arabia has also pledged to remove all pirate websites when notified by beIN.
Last year, the WTO ruled that Saudi Arabia helped break international piracy laws in connection with beoutQ. Saudi Arabia has previously denied aiding in Operation beoutQ and insisted that there was no link between its government and the alleged hack.
beIN Sports aired irregularly in Saudi Arabia earlier this year, with beIN commenting at the time: Monitor continuously.
“Our website is still fully blocked in Saudi Arabia and we have not received any official communication from the Saudi authorities suggesting that our license has been reinstated.
“However, like everyone else, we hope for positive steps from Saudi Arabia to allow beIN operations to return to the country after 3.5 years. We are waiting to see.”