Report ties Saudi company to pirated sports broadcasts

By The Canadian Press
September 16, 2019 - 9:45am

LONDON — Leading soccer organizations say a Saudi Arabia-backed satellite company is "without question" behind pirated match broadcasts that steals content from Qatar's beIN Sports, intensifying a sports dispute linked to the Persian Gulf diplomatic standoff.

The conclusion was reached in a joint statement by FIFA, UEFA, the English, German and Spanish leagues, and the Asian Football Confederation after they commissioned a report into the operations of the beoutQ channels, which have been accused by beIN Sports of illegally pirating its broadcasts of soccer matches and other sports.

The soccer organizations say "the report confirms without question that beoutQ's pirate broadcasts have been transmitted using satellite infrastructure owned and operated by Arabsat."

The latest public criticism of Saudi Arabia-backed satellite broadcaster Arabsat follows a long struggle by the soccer rights holders to stop beoutQ bootlegging games.

Since 2017, the Saudis have been leading a regional economic and diplomatic boycott of Qatar over accusations that Doha supports extremism. Qatar denies the claims.

Arabsat has not previously responded to requests for comment.

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