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BeIN readies legal challenge to Egyptian court ruling

BeIN Media Group has said it will “pursue all legal means” to challenge a ruling from Egyptian authorities handing down a $22.7m (€18.4m) fine to the broadcaster for alleged anti-competitive practices in the North African market.

Egypt’s economic court in Cairo this week upheld the fine that was initially set by the Egyptian Competition Authority in January.

“At all times, beIN has acted in full compliance with all relevant laws, including competition law, and will pursue all legal means available to challenge the judgement,” beIN said in a statement reported by the Broadband TV News website.

According to Egyptian prosecutors, beIN forced subscribers to switch from Egyptian satellite-television platform Nilesat to Qatari pay-television provider Sohail to continue watching beIN Sports. The prosecutors said there was no technical reason for apparently enforcing the switch.

BeIN’s sports portfolio includes rights for all major events operated by Fifa, excluding the Club World Cup, across the Middle East and North Africa.

BeIN today (Thursday) said the ruling is acting against the interests of football fans, adding: “BeIN’s decision to progressively move its programming from Nilesat (its backup satellite operator) to EshailSat (its primary satellite operator) is based on entirely valid commercial, technical and operational reasons and, in fact, results in improved satellite feed.

“Indeed, the Egyptian court’s direct interference in beIN’s right to freely choose its satellite operators not only has no basis in law but, in of itself, constitutes a serious violation of competition law by the court, which is unilaterally conferring commercial advantage on Nilesat over and above other satellite operators in the market.”