Saudi Arabia denies Wimbledon piracy claims
There have been several allegations recently of BeoutQ (a sports TV streaming service) infringing on the rights of beIN Media Group. We wrote previously of the piracy of FIFA World Cup matches by the service.
There has now been a joint statement released by the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the ATP World Tour, ATP Media, The Women’s Tennis Association, the US Tennis Association, the French Tennis Federation, and Tennis Australia. In that statement the allegations go beyond the norm: that BeoutQ has been illegally broadcasting the Wimbledon Championships – it asserts that BeoutQ is Saudi Arabia based and that Saudi Arabia is complicit in the piracy.
The political landscape in the Middle East lend credence to the theory. beIN Media Group is a Qatari company, and Qatar is currently under a diplomatic and trade embargo preventing business and consumer relationships forming between Qatari companies and individuals and companies and individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.
In effect the embargo means that people in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have no access to beIN Sports – the biggest selection of sporting channels in the Middle East, and the exclusive rights holders of the FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon.
It is therefore unsurprising that BeoutQ has provided a platform for those citizens to watch two of the most popular sporting events on the calendar. The accusations that it is state-sponsored are more serious, especially given the political tension in the area already.