Newcastle takeover: beIN Sports urge Premier League to block Saudi Arabia-backed bid over piracy

Newcastle takeover: beIN Sports urge Premier League to block Saudi Arabia-backed bid over piracy
The Premier League has been asked to think about blocking a Saudi-backed consortium’s plan to purchase Newcastle United by one among the league’s major broadcast partners.

The north-east club are reportedly on the verge of being sold to a sovereign wealth fund which involves prince Mohammed bin Salman for around £300million.

However, Qatar-based broadcaster beIN Sports has said Saudi Arabia should be held to account for its involvement during a pirate network which illegally broadcasts Premier League matches.

The broadcaster’s intervention follows concerns raised by Amnesty International who have written to the league’s chief executive 

Richard Masters to mention the takeover might be employed by Saudi Arabia to hide up “actions that are deeply immoral”, including its human rights record.

The Premier League was among variety of organisations and governing bodies who called on Saudi state satellite operator 

Arabsat to prevent providing a platform for a pirate network they said was “abusing” sport.

The network, referred to as beoutQ, first began streaming sporting events illegally in 2017 and despite repeated attempts by sports governing bodies and rights holders to prevent it, the piracy has continued.

Last July, the Premier League said it had spoken to nine law firms in Saudi Arabia who either refused to act or later recused themselves when asked about pursuing a copyright complaint against beoutQ.

Yousef Al-Obaidly, the chief executive of beIN, has written to the chairmen of Premier League clubs saying

 “the potential acquirer of Newcastle United (has) “caused huge damage to your club’s and therefore the Premier League’s commercial revenues”.

Al-Obaidly, who is on the board of Paris Saint-Germain, added: “The legacy of the illegal service will still impact you going forward.

“When the Premier League season re-commences within the coming months, all of the league’s broadcasters’ content will still be readily and illegally available via the IPTV streaming functionality 

on the beoutQ set-top-boxes which were sold in significant quantities in Saudi Arabia and therefore the broader MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

“Furthermore – given the crippling economic effect that coronavirus has on the sports industry – this is often all happening at a time when football clubs got to protect their broadcast revenue the foremost .”

In a separate letter to Masters, Al-Obaidly is asking the League to use the Owners’ and Directors’ Test, taking under consideration the “direct role of Saudi Arabia within the launch, 

promotion and operation of the beoutQ service” and “the challenge the Premier League itself has faced and can still face in taking any action to guard its own property rights within the country”.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia are involved during a political dispute since 2017.


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