The Saudi Arabian Government has blocked beIN Sports from broadcasting in the country and has fined the company ten million Saudi riyals ($3.8m Australian dollars).
beIN sports has been accused of limiting and preventing competition and has been handed the maximum fine under competition law in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi General Authority for Competition said that bundles relating to the 2016 UEFA European Championship that beIN Sports offered broke competition law.
beIN Sport’s license to broadcast in Saudi Arabia has been permanently terminated. Saudi Arabia is also asking for the return of financial gains made by beIN Sports because of the breach.
“The decision is nonsensical on every single level, banning beIN for packaging its rights in the standard way that sports and entertainment broadcasters all around the world do, and indeed as other broadcasters active in the Saudi market also do,” beIN Sports said in a statement.
“Moreover, the very idea that permanently banning a leading competitor from a market could in any way promote competition is plainly absurd.
“We would also question as we have for three years how Saudi citizens can watch Premier League matches legally in Saudi Arabia with this ‘permanent’ ban on the Premier League’s licensed broadcaster. Or indeed how Saudi citizens can legally watch most major international sport, and how this fits into Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Vision.”
The cancelation of the license now means that there is no legal way to watch the English Premier League in Saudi Arabia.
“Due to the responsibilities and goals assigned to the General Authority for Competition (GAC) to protect and encourage fair competition and prevent monopolistic practices.
“This is and with the importance of the principle of transparency, GAC had conducted inquiries and investigations regarding complaints filed against beIN Sports,” said the Saudi General Authority for Competition.
“The result of such investigation have been briefed as beIN Sports abused its dominant position through several monopolistic practices with respect to potential subscribers.
“The General Authority for Competition calls on all stakeholders concerned and the private sector to promote and contribute to build a lawful competition in the sports broadcasting industry. This is with enhancing the transparency, justice, and quality of this industry.”
Last month, the World Trade Organisation found that Saudi Arabia was helping beoutQ breach intentional piracy laws through its broadcasting of professional sport.