AFC invites bids to broadcast football in Saudi Arabia after canceling rights held by Qatar’s BeIN

Saudi side Ittihad playing in the AFC Champions League group B match on Tuesday. Broadcasters have been asked to bid for AFC rights for 2021 to 2024. (AFP)
Updated 08 May 2019
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AFC invites bids to broadcast football in Saudi Arabia after canceling rights held by Qatar’s BeIN

  • The package includes media rights for national team competitions and clubs
  • The AFC said in March that it had canceled BeIN’s broadcasting rights for the Kingdom

JEDDAH: The Asian Football Confederation on Tuesday invited broadcasters to bid for the 2021-2024 media rights to show football in Saudi Arabia after Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sport lost the rights.

The package includes media rights for national team competitions and clubs, including highlights from the AFC Asian Cup and Asian qualifiers for the World Cup in 2022.

It also includes the rights to club competitions - the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup - that include the strongest clubs from all over the continent.

The AFC said in March that it had canceled BeIN’s broadcasting rights for the Kingdom. The Saudi Football Federation said the move brought to an end BeIN’s monopoly over the AFC’s Champions League matches in Saudi Arabia. The AFC at the time blamed BeIN’s “illegal broadcasting”, and the “systemic violations it committed against the Kingdom’s regulations.”

The bidding process will begin on May 9, 2019.

“The AFC media rights partner will need to demonstrate state of the art broadcasting, engaging and informative programming and creative as well as innovative media output,” the AFC statement said.

The successful broadcaster must have the capacity to “encrypt, geo-block or otherwise limit reception of their transmissions to the Territory of the KSA only."


Google Doodle serves up falafel in quirky animation

Updated 18 June 2019
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Google Doodle serves up falafel in quirky animation

  • It is believed falafels originated in Egypt, where they were called ta’ameya and made of fava beans
  • The popularity of falafel then moved towards the Levant area, where the use of chickpea became a staple

DUBAI: One of the Middle East’s favorite dishes has been featured in a Google Doodle as the site apparently took a break from the Women’s World Cup.

Google had been running a series of doodles about the major sporting event, but on Tuesday – apparently randomly - focused on what the search giant described as the “best thing that ever happened to chickpeas.”

We don’t know why they chose Tuesday to run the Doodle – June 12 having been International Falafel Day.  

But the Middle East’s claim to these mouthwatering balls of chickpeas, onions, herbs and spices is undeniable.

Here's a simple step-by-step guide to making falafels, posted by food blog Food Wishes:

It is believed falafels originated in Egypt, where they were called ta’ameya and made of fava beans, about a thousand years ago, by Coptic Christians who ate them during lent as a meat substitute.

Another version of the story suggests that it goes further back to Pharaonic times – traces of fava beans were said to be found in the tombs of the Pharaohs, according to website Egyptian Streets, and that there were paintings from ancient Egypt showing people making the food.

The popularity of falafel then moved towards the Levant area, where the use of chickpea became a staple.

Over the years, many variations of falafel were invented, with global fast food chain McDonalds joining in the falafel craze with its McFalafel.

Popular Iraqi-American comedian Remy Munasifi, attracted more than 1.5 million views for a song about falafels he posted on his YouTube account “GoRemy.’