Bahrain minister slams political monopoly on sports channels for blocking Arabs from watching football

Bahrain minister slams political monopoly on sports channels for blocking Arabs from watching football
Saudi fans watch the national team during last year's World Cup in Russia. (AFP file photo)
Updated 16 March 2019

Bahrain minister slams political monopoly on sports channels for blocking Arabs from watching football

Bahrain minister slams political monopoly on sports channels for blocking Arabs from watching football
  • Information Minister Ali bin Mohammed Al-Romaihi says there are international efforts to stop violating the right of people to watch their national team
  • Qatari owned Bein Sports has come under increasing pressure over its rights deals

JEDDAH: Bahrain on Saturday said 90 per cent of Arab people are deprived of watching football matches on sports channels.

Information Minister Ali bin Mohammed Al-Romaihi said a “monopoly imposed by specific channels for political goals had violated the public’s right,” Bahrain News Agency reported.

While the report did not specify which channels, the Qatari owned Bein Sports has come under increasing pressure in the region over its rights deals to broadcast major sporting events.

On Tuesday, it emerged The Asian Football Confederation had canceled the exclusive rights of BeIN Sports to broadcast its football matches, including the Asian Champions League, in Saudi Arabia.

And on Friday, the Middle East media group MBC said it had won the regional broadcast rights for the FIA Formula One World Championship. The rights were previoucly held by BeIN, which charged users to watch the races. MBC will broadcast them free-to-air. 

Speaking at a media forum in Manama, Al-Romaihi said there are regional and international efforts to “stop violating the public’s right to watch the matches of their national team.”