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Saudi Arabia Fines Qatar’s beIN Sports over Monopolistic Practices

Saudi Arabia Fines Qatar’s beIN Sports over Monopolistic Practices

Tuesday, 14 July, 2020 - 16:45
A night view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP)
Asharq Al-Awsat

Saudi Arabia's General Authority for Competition (GAC) said on Tuesday it had permanently cancelled the license of Qatari broadcaster beIN Sports, which has been barred from broadcasting in the Kingdom since mid-2017 due to a dispute with Qatar.

GAC said in a statement it was also fining beIN Sports 10 million riyals ($2.7 million) for “monopolistic practices”.

BeIN holds regional broadcasting rights for several major global sporting events and entertainment shows, including England's Premier League football.

GAC said it found beIN Sports had "abused its dominant position through several monopolistic practices" related to what it described as an exclusive sports broadcast bundle for the 2016 UEFA European Championship football matches.

The broadcaster was initially blocked in Saudi Arabia under a boycott imposed when Riyadh, Cairo, Manama and Abu Dhabi severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar in June 2017 over Doha's support of terrorism.

A World Trade Organization panel last month supported Riyadh's view that it could block the Qatari broadcaster from obtaining legal counsel in the Kingdom on grounds of national security.

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