BeIN Sports issue Saudi statement as Newcastle United takeover talk takes fresh twist

Newcastle United takeover hopes were raised, the swiftly lowered again after conflicting reports emerged about the potential lifting of the beIN Sports ban in Saudi Arabia.

Monday, 18th January 2021, 9:22 pm
A picture taken January 20, 2020, shows family members browsing Qatar's beIN sport channel at their home in the Saudi capital Riyadh. - Subscribing to Qatar's beIN Sports, the Arab world's leading sports channel which has exclusive rights to Spain's LaLiga and other key tournaments, has become extremely difficult for Saudi fans since the kingdom's 2017 boycott of Qatar. Just days after Riyadh and its allies cut ties, it banned the sale and distribution of beIN receivers, and blocked Qatari websites as well as all transactions with its former ally. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP)

BeIN Sports issued a statement denying the legal blockade of their channels being shown in Saudi Arabia has been lifted. The Qatar-based media company reacted to reports suggesting they could resume broadcasting in the kingdom emerged from the Middle East, via Reuters.

Their statement read: “Nothing has materially changed as far as we are aware at this stage – we are constantly monitoring. Our website is still fully blocked in Saudi Arabia and we have received no official communication from the Saudi authorities to suggest that our license has been re-instated."

The statement continues: "However, like everyone, we are hopeful of positive moves by Saudi to allow beIN operations back in the country after 3.5 years. We await to see."

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The original story from Reuters read: “RIYADH (Reuters) - Qatar-based TV channel beIN Sports has resumed its broadcast in Saudi Arabia after the two countries reconciled this month, ending a rift of more than three years, a Reuters witness in Riyadh reported on Monday.”

The beIN block in Saudi has been a major battleground in Newcastle United takeover talk.

Relations between Qatar and the Saudis have thawed somewhat in recent weeks and hope remains high, as per the beIN statement, that the ban will eventually be lifted. This would remove one hurdle for the progression of the PIF, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brother deal, which has stalled since May last year.

Premier League football has not been legal to watch in the kingdom since 2017.