beIN Media “categorically” rejects Egypt’s “fine”

In response to the Egyptian Cairo Economic Court’s judgement, beIN Media Group says it categorically rejects – and is shocked and appalled by – the decision, which is says sends a deeply troubling message to any international entity seeking to do business in Egypt. The judgement is based on unfounded and politically motivated allegations by the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) that have no basis in fact or law. At all times, beIN said it acted in full compliance with all relevant laws, including competition law, and will pursue all legal means available to challenge the judgement.

“beIN has been broadcasting high-quality TV content in Egypt to sports fans and consumers since 2005, and has an unrivalled track record in delivering premium quality broadcast and innovative content. Egypt has some of the most passionate and knowledgeable sports fans in the world and beIN is proud to have delivered quality sports and entertainment programming across the country – to as wide an audience as commercially possible – for over a decade. Furthermore, beIN is proud that its latest broadcasting agreement with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) guarantees a substantial increase in revenues for CAF, securing much-needed funds for the development of football across the African continent, including Egypt.”

beIN says the the ECA’s unfounded allegations “have no basis in competition law and are divorced from the commercial realities of the pay-TV market. The claim that beIN violated competition law by offering bundled sports packages ignores standard market practice in the pay-TV industry not only in the MENA region, but around the world. Our premium sport packages provide the highest quality content at competitive prices to all of our customers, which has enabled beIN – through significant investment – to become one of the leading broadcasters of sport events and competitions worldwide. For example, beIN has been the trusted partner of FIFA and CAF in Egypt for over 10 years.”

“The Egyptian court’s injunction requiring the sale of each sporting event on a stand-alone basis would prevent beIN from continuing to carry on business in this market and require beIN – and all international broadcasters active in Egypt – to fundamentally reconfigure their business models. This attempt to exclude beIN from the Egyptian market constitutes a serious violation by Egypt of both its own domestic law and its international obligations, with the local regulator manifestly acting without valid authority and solely in self-interest. Already, federations, leagues and rights holders have signaled their concern at the judgment, which undermines the actual market value of their rights for purely political motivations. The practical reality of the judgment, if enforced, is the very real possibility of a black-out of certain high-profile live sports on Egyptian TV. All this, ultimately, harms Egyptian sports fans; politics has no place in sport.

For the avoidance of any doubt, beIN categorically rejects the local Egyptian court’s judgement and will pursue all available legal means to challenge it.”

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