JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia welcomed on Thursday FIFA’s announcement that it will take legal action in the Kingdom against a pirate TV channel illegally broadcasting the World Cup.
Riyadh has denied allegations that beoutQ is based in Saudi Arabia and is working to combat its operations.
The Ministry of Media said the FIFA action would “supplement the relentless efforts by the KSA Ministry of Commerce and Investment in combatting beoutQ's activities and beIN’s illegal broadcasting within the country.”
The statement said this would reinforce Saudi Arabia’s efforts to protecting intellectual property rights within the Kingdom.
The Ministry of Media said it blamed beIN Sports, a subsidiary of the Al Jazeera Media Network, for “falsely and unfairly” connecting Saudi Arabia with beoutQ.
Saudi Arabia has banned Qatar-based Al Jazeera and beIN Sports from broadcasting in the country as part of a boycott against Doha over its support for extremist groups.
beIN Sports says it holds the rights to broadcast the 2018 World Cup in the Middle East and North Africa.
The ministry accused the network of providing a media platform for “terrorists to propagate their violent message.”
The statement reported on the Saudi Press Agency said that while beoutQ's pirate broadcasts have been available in the Kingdom, its set-top boxes are available in, other nations in the Middle East and North Africa and the pirate broadcasts are targeted at that region, including Qatar but also Eastern Europe.
The ministry said beIN Sports had engineered a smear campaign against Saudi Arabia.