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Posted On: 21 June 2019 07:24 pm
Updated On: 21 June 2019 07:39 pm

beIN SPORTS cuts off around 300 employees due to piracy backed by Saudi Arabia

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In 17 June 2019, Bloomberg reported, beIN Media Group - beIN SPORTS has cut almost a fifth of staff in Qatar due to a loss on pay-TV income from rampant piracy by Saudi Arabia.

The company has laid off around 300 employees in Qatar, or about 18% of the local workforce, said a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the number isn’t public. BeIN said in a statement it had taken some “difficult decisions to right-size our business” and to reflect the impact of piracy on the company.

BeoutQ, started to illegally transmitting contents of beIN SPORTS during 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ via Arabsat, Riyadh-based satellite provider owned by Saudi Arabia.

In October 2018, beIN lodged an international investment arbitration case against Saudi worth $1bn in compensation for piracy and in May 2019, Qatar also filed WTO challenge to Saudi Arabia's failure to stop copyright piracy.

“These decisions will secure our business for the future -- we are not going anywhere,” BeIN Media said. “We will not stop our fight against BeoutQ until it is ended.”BeIN has said the piracy is part of a wider diplomatic and trade war with Saudi Arabia, Qatar’s more powerful neighbor.

BeIN has said the piracy is part of a wider diplomatic and trade war with Saudi Arabia, Qatar’s neighbor. BeoutQ’s channels are distributed online and are available over the Arabsat satellite network based in the Saudi capital Riyadh. The Saudi government and Arabsat deny any links to BeoutQ.

Uefa president, Aleksander Ceferin, has described piracy as a threat to the future of European soccer and a joint legal action has been launched in Saudi Arabia by the Premier League, La Liga and Fifa to halt the theft.


Recently a French court ruled that BeoutQ was being carried on the Riyadh-based satellite, Arabsat - in which the Saudi state is a majority shareholder - although the kingdom denies that this is the case.

What has been clear is that the Saudi authorities are willing to turn a blind eye if it hurts Qatar, further proving that they do not uphold the law. This will only convince global media outlets to reduce any investment in their Saudi as well as countries that do not counter piracy.

Sources: Bloomberg & SportsProMedia & Submissions to iLoveQatar