Piracy issue should NOT stop Saudi Takeover! – Here’s why..

*A guest post from @Tft_Gallowgate‘s Carl Richardson on the ongoing piracy issue surrounding a potential Saudi-backed takeover*

During this whole Newcastle Takeover saga, one issue continues to rise its head, and that is the issue of piracy within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, specifically through BeoutQ and its issues with Qatar based beIN sport.

These issues are not solely limited to the takeover and go back years instead of months. However, with it being forefront in many reports on the takeover, it is understandably getting a lot of people worried, especially with the Guardian article on Tuesday on the World Trade Organisations (WTO) 130+ page report sent to the Premier League at the beginning of the month.

The issues between Saudi and Qatar are well documented, to the point that borders were blocked between the two countries over alleged terrorism ties between Qatar and Iran. But what has that got to do with the Takeover? Well it all stems from the timing of BeoutQ starting.

Shortly after Saudi essentially cut all ties with Qatar, it then refused to stream Qatari run beIN Sports, which is the sports arm of Al Jazeera news channel, on its satellite feeds. A matter of days later BeoutQ appeared streaming at first on the internet as an IPTV, then eventually on Arabsat.

BeoutQ would stream content normally seen on beIN, including their live football streams, where at first the BeoutQ logo would be fit on top of beIN’s Digital on-screen graphic. This led to a feature/Documentary type report being run by Al Jazeera, which would link BeoutQ to a Saudi native Dt Raed Khusheim. Dr Khusheim ran a TV station out of the UAE called Selevision, and it was through this Al Jazeera argued that BeoutQ was being ran. This would then lead to a court case in the region, where beIN would lose and be ordered to pay Dr Khusheim $7 million in damages.

While all this was happening beIN legally held the rights for top level competition, including both the Men’s and Women’s World Cup, Champions League, top European leagues, and rights to leagues within the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. This meant essentially that beIN held the television rights to the Asian Champions League, which included Saudi teams.

Because Saudi had banned all feeds from beIN and connected stations, something the UAE also did albeit for a month, it meant that residents of Saudi Arabia could not legally watch their own countries football. There were plans between Saudi and Egypt to have a station based in Cairo called PBS, to get around this, but that never got off the ground.

But the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) took matters into their own hands and planned to show games involving Saudi teams via live stream on their own YouTube channel, something that did not please beIN, as in their view had legally bought those rights from AFC. These matters seemed to have disappeared, from what I can tell in the bits of research I have done.

It is important to note that during this time BeoutQ were not just using beIN feeds, but were also using an Arabic feed from Israel and a Spanish feed from Mexico. Which I can only assume were in partnership, or at least no issues raised, as nothing I can find was brought against BeoutQ on these streams. This seems to be the moment that beIN turned their attentions to Arabsat, by this point BeoutQ were streaming on the provider, and with Arabsat being available in some French Territories.

This brings us up to the moment we are all aware of, beIN’s requests being rejected by the French courts, as although they confirmed BeoutQ was no doubt a case of piracy, there was no connection to Arabsat, and again beIN were ordered to pay cost’s and a small amount of compensation.

It is important to note that throughout all of this I have been unable to find a link between BeoutQ and PIF and Mohammed Bin Salman, which is obviously good news for the Newcastle Takeover, with no link they cannot be guilty of piracy.

In my opinion, and it is just that my opinion, beIN took a lot of losses. Losses to streams, and losses in court. It seems a case to me that they don’t know who to blame, and the report by the WTO was asked to be started in 2018.

This is a last gasp attempt to get the Premier League to find out something no one has been able to do for three years. If the WTO report can, and that’s a big IF, link PIF and anyone on the Owners and Directors test to BeoutQ then it is an issue, but it doesn’t seem to me that it will, and is still a case of when not if!

Hope this helps.

Be sure to give Carl a follow on Twitter at @Tft_Gallowgate and check out his site, Tales from the Gallowgate, to read more of his work.

(Fancy writing for us? Get in touch at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

4 thoughts on “Piracy issue should NOT stop Saudi Takeover! – Here’s why..

  1. A noble effort but a few mistakes, probably down to not knowing the region and “selective” research.

    You say a matter of days later BeoutQ appeared streaming at first on the internet as an IPTV, then eventually on Arabsat. It was 2 months

    The damages award against BeIN – IN A DUBAI COURT – were nothing to do with beoutQ – it was from a case Bein raised against Selevision in 2016 – long before beoutQ even existed. Hence my comment about “selective” research.

    You say the court case in France said there was no connection to Arabsat, however an article printed on Reuters states that court records confirm that Arabsat were facilitating piracy by transmitting beoutQ on their satellite

    You say that you have been unable to find a link between MBS BeoutQ and PIF . Do you think there’s a website out there like Companies House linking everyone getting backhanders for piracy?
    In most Arab Countries (Saudi, UAE and Bahrain I know for certain) when the revenue of a company becomes substantial they get a knock on the door from a representative of the Royal Court, asking for their cut of the company and profits.
    This happened to two friends of mine – one in Saudi, one in UAE – and their businesses weren’t exactly huge.
    It is not possible that BeoutQ, with estimated revenue pushing 1 billion dollars, were unknown to the Saudi Royal Family. That’s not how it works there.
    Anyway they are not accused so much of piracy as facilitating it. Failing to prevent it.

    You suggest that BeIN don’t know who to blame. They know exactly who is to blame, however they can only sue them for Piracy happening inside Saudi, in Saudi courts.
    Considering the Saudi and the Middle East blockade against Qatar that’s just not going to work, is it? Hence beIN not only losing the case in Dubai, but being ordered to pay outrageous damages.
    It is claimed that beIN have tried to sue in Saudi 9 (or even 12) times but every time the Saudi law companies either pulled out, or in some cases disappeared altogether.

    Again – a good article but I suspect you’re opinion is slightly blinkered by the fact that you have no personal experience of the Gulf Arabs culture.


  2. Just a small correction

    It is my understanding that BeoutQ started broadcasting on Arabsat first, moving to IPTV and set top boxes later.


  3. Come now. Anyone with this much money. You think they will be prevented from buying something they want?! That’s mad. Just imagine how much money they will throw at lawyers to get what they want? I fully expect the deal will be announced at the same time as a big signing or two. They’ll arrive with a bang. This media is just some fake hurdle for the Saudi “hero’s” to overcome as part of the sportswash.


  4. The WTO have come out and said that their report is confidential and won’t be released to anybody until mid June so the Guardians article is a complete fabrication, it hasn’t been passed to the PL as it has to be seen by the member countries before anyone else and the PL is neither a member, a country or time travellers able to jump ahead two weeks.
    The PL need to pull their fingers out because Rolls Royce are struggling enough without the Saudis spending their money elsewhere


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