On Tuesday, the Saudi Competition Authority announced the cancellation of the license of BeIN Sports channels in the Kingdom “permanently”, and fined 10 million riyals (2.7 million dollars) for what it described as “monopolistic practices.”
The network “BeIN” considered that the decision was taken “through tainted legal procedures that repeatedly violated the rights of the defense in all legal stages.”
The network stressed that “the decision itself is not only inconsistent with international law, but with the most basic principles of competition laws, and this decision does not make any sense at all levels.” She asked, “How can Saudi citizens view the activities of the English Premier League legally in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with This permanent ban? ”
The Guardian newspaper said that the new decision makes it impossible to legally watch the Premier League in Saudi Arabia, because “BeIN” Network has exclusive rights to broadcast the competition in the region until 2022.
She asked about the timing of the announcement of the decision while Saudi Arabia was seeking to complete the acquisition of Newcastle, and said that the deal – which received secret support from the British government – was closer to materializing after receiving signals about the possibility of a diplomatic settlement in the broadcasting crisis between Saudi Arabia and the “BBC” network. However, the new Saudi decision was a “shock” to the investment fund and its allied parties, which they were not aware of.
The newspaper quoted several sources as surprised by the timing of the media about the new decision, especially after Saudi Arabia issued a series of laws that prevented piracy, as part of its efforts to provide the appropriate atmosphere to complete the acquisition.
A group led by British businesswoman Amanda Stephen and backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund is seeking to buy Newcastle from Mike Ashley for 300 million pounds (about 378 million dollars), but the deal has been stalled and has been under review from the Premier League for 16 weeks.
The deal faces opposition from various parties because of Saudi Arabia’s record in the field of human rights, and its role in supporting the “BeOutQ” network, which illegally transferred major sporting events.