The diplomatic problems between Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Gulf states and Qatar has escalated and now threatens the TV output from Qatar-based beIN Sports.
October 18th saw Egypt’s prosecutor-general name and refer Nasser Al-Khelaifi, beIN Media Group’s CEO (and president of football club Paris Saint Germain) to Egypt’s Commercial Court and alleging “monopolistic practices” and repeated violations of Egypt’s competition laws.
The allegations come down to beIN’s cutting of transmissions to Cairo-based Nilesat and switching satellites to that of Qatari-owned Es’HailSat, and thus “forcing” viewers who wanted to see all-important football games which beIN hold broadcasting rights to.
Al Ahram, Egypt’s semi-official newspaper, reports that the charges allege that this switching of satellites could lead to Nilesat losing viewers (and subscribers to Orbit-Showtime Network/OSN) and forcing viewers to pay for entertainment and sports that they may not be interested in.
Not helping are criminal charges laid before a Swiss court a week ago also involving Al-Khelaifi and beIN alleging that beIN made bribery payments to FIFA officials in order to secure World Cup exclusive TV coverage. The investigation concerns alleged bribes offered to former FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke to award 2026 and 2030 World Cup rights to the beIN Media Group, according to the office of Switzerland’s attorney-general.
Al-Khelaifi confirmed October 18th that he is set to speak to Swiss officials on October 25th.
Last week, the Paris offices of beIN Sports were raided and searched, along with other offices in Greece, Italy and Spain.