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BeIN Sports warn Premier League over Newcastle takeover

Phil Egan
Phil Egan

10:51 22 Apr 2020


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BeIN Sports has written to the Premier League and its clubs about the deal, which could see Newcastle bought by a Saudi-backed consortium.

BeIn Sports is one of the largest overseas broadcast partners to the Premier League and the chief executive of the Qatar-based TV giant wants the Premier League to block Newcastle's proposed £300m takeover.

Mike Ashley is believed to be close to selling his stake in club to a sovereign wealth fund headed by Amanda Staveley and funded by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Chief executive of the beIN Sports, Yousef al-Obaidly has written to the chairs of top-flight clubs about the deal, stating that Saudi Arabia should be held accountable for a pirate network which illegally transmits English top-flight games.

Al-Obaidly accuses the Saudi Arabian government of the "facilitation of the near three-year theft of the Premier League's commercial rights - and in turn your club's commercial revenues - through its backing of the huge-scale beoutQ pirate service".

It started its illegal streaming activities in 2017, the same year Saudi and Qatar became involved in a significant political dispute.

The Premier League was among a number of organisations who called on Saudi state satellite operator Arabsat to stop providing a platform for a pirate network they said was "abusing" the game.

Last July the Premier League also said it had spoken to nine law firms in Saudi Arabia about pursuing a copyright complaint against beoutQ.

Broadcaster beoutQ has been illegally showing matches - mainly in Saudi Arabia - despite the rights to show games in the region belonging to beIN Sports, who are currently in the middle of a three-year deal with the Premier League worth more than €500m.

The attempt to block the bid comes after comments from Amnesty International, who have written to the Premier League's chief executive Richard Masters to highlight the "dire human rights situation" in Saudi Arabia.


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