The Confédération Africaine de Football (Caf) has pledged to join other major rights holders in a legal battle against Saudi Arabian pirate channel BeoutQ after mass piracy affected all 36 of the Africa Cup of Nations group-stage games.
African football’s governing body will join a growing number of international rights-holders – including Fifa, Uefa and the English Premier League – whose content has been shown illegally on BeoutQ across the Middle East and North Africa.
Only beIN and Egyptian broadcaster Time Sport Channel had official deals to broadcast the competition in the region.
In a public statement released over the weekend, Caf said BeoutQ’s piracy was causing “severe damage” and that Saudi Arabian satellite provider Arabsat had refused requests to take down transmissions showing the matches.
In a statement posted on its website on July 6, it said: “The broadcasting rights granted by CAF on an exclusive basis to its official broadcast partners are matched by important financial contributions that ensure the financing and development of African football competitions and its member associations.
“Caf strongly condemns the acts of piracy committed by BeoutQ that directly threaten the ambitions of valorization, influence and development of the African football and Caf”.
BeoutQ’s piracy of beIN’s Mena properties including the Fifa World Cup, Uefa Champions League and English Premier League have already damaged beIN’s operations, resulting in the Qatari broadcaster cutting roughly 20 per cent of staff in its home nation.