BeIN Sports channel has already lost its exclusive rights to air matches in Saudi Arabia after Asian football’s governing body revoked its licence over what Saudi officials termed “grave violations” by the Qatari broadcaster to obtain licences to air games in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabian Football Federation “SAFF” declared on Tuesday that it had received an official letter from the Asian Football Confederation “AFC” revoking BeIN Sports channels’ monopoly on airing Asian football matches in its territory.
The Asian football’s governing body said the decision was based on communications and legal reasoning that included BeIN’s “illegal broadcasting”, and the “systemic violations it committed against the Kingdom’s regulations.” The SAFF welcomed the AFC’s decision describing it as “fair”, saying BeIN failed to obtain the necessary licenses to air AFC matches in the Kingdom, according to the statement. The SAFF encouraged all international federations to take similar measures against BeIN, it added.
The decision regarding depriving BeIN of broadcasting rights in KSA comes into effect immediately, starting with Tuesday’s Asian Champions League group match between Saudi champions Al Hilal and Qatari club Al Duhail at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh. UAE champions Al Ain and Iranian club Esteghlal make up the other two teams in Group C.
There are about 3 other Saudi teams involved in this year’s Asian Champions League – Al Nassr, Al Ittihad and Al Ahli.
Matches in the Kingdom will instead be broadcast through AFC platforms, according to the SAFF statement. The statement made no mention of whether this would be through TV or online platforms.
KSA’s federation stated that it would offer a broadcast crew of commentators and analysts and will work out the necessary technical arrangements to help cover the matches.
This decision has been made before next month’s at the AFC Congress in Kuala Lumpur.
It should be mentioned that voting for the AFC presidency takes place on April 6 where Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Khalifa will seek a third term in office. The other candidates are Emirati Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi and Qatar’s Saoud Al Mohannadi, the AFC vice president.
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