MENA

Saudi Arabia’s Information Ministry has rubbished claims that it is hosting the BeoutQ pirate service in the kingdom after Formula One became the latest major sports property to vow to “take appropriate action” on the matter.

European football’s governing body Uefa has become embroiled in a spat with Turki Al Alshikh, head of Saudi government body the General Sports Authority, over the dispute between Qatar-based beIN Media Group and Saudi-based channel BeoutQ.

Fifa, world football’s governing body, has said it is considering legal action against parties connected to BeoutQ, a pirate channel that has been broadcasting content produced by Qatar’s beIN Media Group, including the ongoing World Cup in Russia.

Qatar’s beIN Media Group has made 22 matches from the 2018 Fifa World Cup available via its free-to-air channels in the Middle East and North Africa following pressure over access to the national team football tournament from multiple markets in the region.

German Bundesliga football club Bayern Munich has signed a strategic partnership with Perform, while the digital sports content and media group’s Goal subsidiary has launched what it claims is the first live sports show on social media platform Twitter for the Middle East and North Africa region.

Qatar’s beIN Media Group has said it has been unable to strike a sublicensing deal with Saudi Arabia for rights to the 2018 Fifa World Cup as the Kingdom claimed the broadcaster has backtracked on an agreement brokered with the aid of world football’s governing body.

Pay-television broadcaster beIN Sports has resumed carriage via UAE telco Du ahead of the 2018 Fifa World Cup, while Oman has taken action to block beoutQ, a pirate channel that has been broadcasting beIN content.

BeIN Media Group has stepped up its campaign to eradicate piracy of its sports broadcasts by making a request for world football’s governing body Fifa to take legal action against Saudi-headquartered communications satellite operator Arabsat.

Social media company Facebook has made its latest high-level appointment as its seeks to further bolster its presence in the sports rights market, with Rhys Beer joining from US media group NBCUniversal.

Digital football business Dugout has revealed plans to expand into the Middle East and North Africa market after receiving fresh investment of £8.275m (€9.44m/$11.6m).