The final whistle may blow on Saudi-led bid for Newcastle United takeover after WTO rules against kingdom.
Qatar’s sports broadcasting network has signed a new deal to retain the rights to air all English Premier League games for another three years in the Middle East amid a long-running dispute with Saudi Arabia over the pirating of football broadcasts.
The announcement was made in a press release on Thursday by the Premier League which said a deal worth $500m with the beIN network will run from 2022 to 2025.
“We are pleased to agree [to] a significant deal with beIN SPORTS, who are a longstanding and valued partner,” Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said.
“They have an outstanding track record of delivering top-quality Premier League content across all its platforms.”
Nasser al-Khelaifi, chairman of beIN, said the media group was “delighted to renew our long-established and trusted partnership with the Premier League through to 2025”.
“This deal demonstrates that rights-holders who do the most to protect their intellectual property also do the most to protect the value of their media rights,” he added.
Doha-based beIN Sports has pursued action against Saudi Arabia to stop it allegedly facilitating the bootlegging of its output in a proxy of the Gulf economic and diplomatic boycott of Qatar.
The dispute contributed to the collapse of an attempt by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund to buy northeast English club Newcastle United this year. There were unverified reports that Saudi Arabia was going to launch its own bid to show games in the region.
Nevertheless, the Premier League agreed to hand beIN another $500m, to show all 380 matches for each year in the Middle East and North Africa during the three years.
The beIN network is banned from operating in Saudi Arabia, which was accused this year by the World Trade Organization of facilitating piracy by blocking moves to shut the renegade beoutQ broadcasting operation.
Saudi Arabia severed ties with Qatar in 2017 alongside the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt over accusations Doha supports “extremism”.
Qatar has vehemently denied the accusations.