Saudi Arabia to Remove Ban on Qatari BeIN Sports

Saudi Arabia's 4.5-year ban on Qatar-based beIN Sports is going to be reversed soon amid improving relations between the two countries.

  • The ban was introduced 4 and a half years ago (AFP)
    The ban was introduced 4 and a half years ago (AFP)

According to a source cited by AFP, Saudi Arabia is set to lift its ban off Qatar-based beIN Sports. 

This can be considered as a potential turning point in a long track of friction. The action could smooth the path for a possible Saudi takeover of Newcastle United English football club.

In 2017, Saudi Arabia banned beIN, a major Arab sports broadcaster, which holds rights to the English Premier League, as well as many other leagues across the globe.

GCC countries break ties with Qatar

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt broke ties with Qatar over accusations of supporting extremists, in addition to establishing closer relations with arch-rival Iran. These accusations were always denied by Qatar.

In a sign of improving relations between the two countries, the source told AFP, "Saudi Arabia's 4.5-year illegal ban on beIN is going to be reversed." 

A $1 Billion Saudi bid was blocked

The source added that Riyadh wants to settle Qatar's $1 billion arbitration case over pirated broadcasts to Saudi audiences by a network called beoutQ. Riyadh rejected claims of having connections with beoutQ.

However, last year, the Premier League decided to effectively block a $370 million bid for Newcastle that included the Saudi Public Investment Fund, following Saudi Arabia's failure to take action against beoutQ.