The diplomatic arguments between Saudi Arabia and Qatar show no signs of abating. A senior Saudi official at the International Law Association, Dr Majid Garoub, speaking to Bahrain-based Gulf News, says that the political position in the region meant that Saudi Arabia would have to re-negotiate with FIFA on the rights to broadcast football.
The comments came at the same time as sports officials in many Gulf states are calling for a rival TV organisation to be established to compete with beIN Sports, and to be a valid alternate and able to negotiate rights with FIFA and other sports bodies.
beIN holds the TV rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup, the Cup of Nations in Europe, the Asian Cup, Africa Cup of Nations, the Champions League, the AFC Champions League, CAF Champions League tournaments.
Meanwhile, the diplomatic problems continue to affect Qatar-based Al Jazeera, and where the problems started. News agency Associated Press is reporting that Israel is considering closing the Al Jazeera bureau in Jerusalem. Neighbouring Jordan has already closed the broadcaster’s office in Amman. Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu has long grumbled about Al Jazeera’s alleged bias against Israel, with some politicians claiming its coverage is similar to Nazi-style propaganda.
However, Israel has a long record of permitting a free and varied press, and closing Al Jazeera would open up legal challenges.