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Posted On: 16 June 2020 10:23 pm
Updated On: 18 June 2020 01:25 pm

WTO ruling backs Qatar in TV piracy dispute against Saudi Arabia

ILQ Staff
ILQ Staff
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The World Trade Organization (“WTO”) – one of the world’s most-highly regarded international adjudicative bodies that oversees 164 member countries – has completed an impartial, independent and detailed 1.5 year evaluation of Saudi Arabia’s conduct in relation to beoutQ’s piracy. As part of the proceedings, The Premier League, FIFA, UEFA, LaLiga, Bundesliga and many other sports bodies made declarations directly against Saudi Arabia. Should The Premier League approve the Newcastle takeover by Saudi Arabia, it would be acting inconsistently with its own decisions and factual evidence as part of the WTO proceedings and also its submissions to the US Government, the European Commission and others over the past 3 years – hence the relevance to that takeover.

WTO ruling backs Qatar in TV piracy dispute against Saudi Arabia
Image credit: GCO Qatar

In its final judgment – published today, 16 June 2020 – the WTO has conclusively ruled that the Government of Saudi Arabia has actively promoted and supported the beoutQ pirate operation since the beginning and has wholly breached, and is breaching, its obligations under international law to protect intellectual property rights. The WTO ruling calls upon Saudi Arabia to immediately bring itself into compliance with its international law obligations.

Stephen Nathan QC, Blackstone Chambers, counsel for beIN Media Group had this to say after the ruling:

“Today’s WTO ruling is a historic vindication of intellectual property rights. The decision is founded on rules that 164 nations have agreed to apply. The WTO has established that, since 2017, the Saudi government has played a central role in enabling and promoting beoutQ’s theft of world sport and entertainment – the most widespread and damaging piracy operations that the world has ever seen. Saudi Arabia’s breach of international law is clearly established; the damage to the Premier League, other rights-holders and broadcasters has been colossal and it has been brought about by Saudi Arabia’s promotion and support for the beoutQ piracy, coupled with its abstention from taking any meaningful steps to stamp it out as the WTO panel has held.”

In addition, David Sugden, Senior Legal Counsel & Director of Corporate Affairs, beIN Media Group stated:

“In addition to the WTO ruling, the US Government, the UK Government and the European Commission have all recognised how beoutQ’s legacy and damage to world sport continues today. Millions of IPTV-enabled beoutQ and other illegal boxes remain in circulation; the legal cases of the Premier League, FIFA, UEFA and others against beoutQ have been deliberately blocked by the Saudi Government; international media rights values have been destroyed; and, as a result of the Saudi government’s actions, the only way for tens of millions of Saudi sports fans to watch most major international sport – including Newcastle United matches – is via illegal means. Sport cannot grow while Saudi Arabia continues to promote the theft of sports rights and ignore the international rule of law – hopefully one day that will change, for the benefit of everyone.”

For the full report from the WTO, kindly visit: https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/567r_e.pdf

Source: Press Release