BeIN-Saudi talks break down nine days ahead of World Cup

Updated 05 June 2018

BeIN-Saudi talks break down nine days ahead of World Cup

DOHA: Qatar's beIN Media Group said Tuesday it has been unable to reach a deal with Saudi Arabia to show World Cup games, nine days before the kingdom plays Russia in the tournament's opening match.
In a statement, beIN also said world football's governing body, FIFA, had assisted in contract negotiations as the Saudis would not deal directly with Qatari officials due to a deepening one-year diplomatic dispute.
"We have been doing everything we can over the past few days and weeks to agree a sub-licensing deal in Saudi Arabia," said a spokesperson for beIN.
"While there were preliminary discussions, there has been no agreement on price, or indeed any of the main terms of a sub-licence, by Saudi Arabia."
The spokesperson added: "BeIN remains absolutely open and available to discuss the sub-licence broadcast of FIFA World Cup 2018."
A source with knowledge of the negotiations said FIFA was involved because Saudi Arabia refused to deal directly with beIN.
But Saudi sports authority chief Turki al-Sheikh offered a different narrative, accusing Qatar of backtracking from a $35 million FIFA-brokered deal to allow Saudi Arabia to air the opening and closing games as well as 20 other encounters.
"Saudi Arabia has shown good faith," he told Bloomberg News in Zurich.
It comes just nine days before Saudi Arabia play hosts Russia in the opening match of the World Cup on June 14.
On June 5, 2017, a group of countries led by Saudi Arabia, severed ties with Doha, accusing it of supporting terrorism and Riyadh's great regional rival, Iran.
Qatar denies the charges and says the dispute is an attack on its sovereignty.
The contract impasse also comes after beIN asked FIFA to take legal action against pirate broadcasters in Saudi Arabia ahead of the World Cup.
Also on Tuesday, beIN formally announced a two-year deal with United Arab Emirates broadcaster Du.
Last weekend, beIN channels to Du subscribers were taken off air in another contractual dispute.


Saudi Arabia strengthens position as world’s largest Islamic finance market

Updated 13 min 19 sec ago

Saudi Arabia strengthens position as world’s largest Islamic finance market

  • Moody’s anticipates a shift to more Shariah-compliant finance over the next 12-18 months as corporates and households increasingly use Islamic products
  • VP-Senior Analyst at Moody’s Ashraf Madani: A comprehensive set of Islamic finance regulations have spurred Saudi banks to issue sukuk

LONDON: Islamic financing in Saudi Arabia will reach around 80 percent of system-wide loans in the next 12-18 months according to a report from Moody’s.
That compares to 78 percent of loans in the Kingdom in 2019 and 70 percent in 2013, the credit ratings agency said in a report on Tuesday.
Moody’s anticipates a shift to more Shariah-compliant finance over the next 12-18 months as corporates and households increasingly use Islamic products, even as low oil prices and the coronavirus crisis cause economic challenges.
Saudi Arabia had total Islamic finance assets of $339 billion as of March 2020, leaving Malaysia in a distant second  place with $145 billion.
“A comprehensive set of Islamic finance regulations have spurred Saudi banks to issue sukuk, Islamic products are now listed on the main market, and an Islamic mortgage refinancing businesshas been established,” said Ashraf Madani, VP-Senior Analyst at Moody’s.
The industry will further benefit from increased government sukuk issuance, potentially rising foreign investment supported by more lenient entry rules and deepening capital markets, Moody’s said.
A wave of mergers and acquisitions across the region is also accelerating the penetration of Islamic finance.