Wimbledon 2019: SW19 join Premier League in calls to ban Saudi pirate channel for ‘illegal exploitation of world sport’

The All England Lawn Tennis Club have accused beoutQ of ‘ongoing illegal exploitation of world sport’

Tess de La Mare
Sunday 14 July 2019 15:51
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Wimbledon Championships in numbers

Wimbledon 2019 has joined the growing number of sporting events calling for the UK Government to take action against alleged Saudi Arabian pirate channel beoutQ.

Previously the Premier League, Fifa, Germany’s Bundesliga, Spain’s La Liga and the governing bodies of Asian and European football have criticised the channel.

They claim beoutQ’s activities pose a serious risk to their sports by devaluing the paid-for rights of their broadcasting partners.

BeoutQ launched in Saudi Arabia in August 2017.

Its inception came two months after Bahrain, Egypt, the Maldives, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen broke off diplomatic ties with Qatar.

Qatar, which is due to host the 2022 World Cup, now has few friends in the region.

One of the battles in the ongoing regional dispute has been an attack on Qatar’s beIN Sports – the biggest sports broadcaster in the Middle East

For more than two years, beoutQ has allegedly stolen beIN’s sports rights and rebroadcast them across the Middle East and North Africa via a Saudi-owned satellite network and its own streaming service.

BeIN is among the All England Lawn Tennis Club’s (AELTC) broadcast partners, along with the BBC, Canal+, ESPN and several others across the globe.

The AELTC said beoutQ’s activities were “not only wholly unlawful, but undermine the commercial value of Wimbledon‘s intellectual property all around the world”.

Fifa started legal action against beoutQ during last year’s World Cup, and both the Premier League and Uefa have said they are taking steps too, but so far the Saudi Arabian government has denied responsibility.

Last October, the Qatari government launched a case against Saudi Arabia at the World Trade Organisation, claiming more than one billion US dollars (£786 million) in compensation.

Djokovic celebrates clinching the first set

“The AELTC will be making the strongest representations to the UK Government to put pressure on the Saudi Arabia authorities to immediately close down the beoutQ pirate operation following its ongoing illegal exploitation of world sport,” the club said.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has been approached for comment.

PA

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