Qataris make pointed statement referencing Newcastle United after piracy ruling

A Qatari broadcaster which has objected to the proposed Newcastle United takeover has reacted a ruling on TV piracy in Saudi Arabia.

The World Trade Organisation yesterday drew a link between “individuals or entities” under the jurisdiction the Saudi state and beoutQ, a pirate TV station which has illegally broadcast Premier League games and other sporting events in the kingdom.

The findings are now being analysed by the Premier League.

It has been considering the proposed Saudi-funded takeover of Newcastle since early April.

St James's Park.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

Allegations from Qatar, which is involved in a geopolitical dispute with Saudi Arabia, prompted the investigation, which was set up in late 2018.

The WTO ruling was welcomed by Doha-based beIN Sports, which is blocked in the kingdom despite owning the Premier League rights for the region.

“In addition to the WTO ruling, the US Government, the UK Government and the European Commission have all recognised how beoutQ’s legacy and damage to world sport continues today,” said senior legal counsel David Sugden.

“Millions of IPTV-enabled beoutQ and other illegal boxes remain in circulation; the legal cases of the Premier League, FIFA, UEFA and others against beoutQ have been deliberately blocked by the Saudi Government; international media rights values have been destroyed; and, as a result of the Saudi Government’s actions, the only way for tens of millions of Saudi sports fans to watch most major international sport – including Newcastle United matches – is via illegal means.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

“Sport cannot grow while Saudi Arabia continues to promote the theft of sports rights and ignore the international rule of law.”