Saudi Arabia’s chairman of its General Sports Authority, Turki al-Sheikh, has accused Qatar’s beIN Sports Group, which controls the TV rights to the World Cup over the Middle East region, of unfairness.
Al-Sheikh was meeting the head of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, and called on the FIFA boss “not to allow Al-Jazeera network, which sponsors and supports terrorism, and its affiliate beIN Sports to exploit their broadcast of sports championships to violate the regulations of FIFA and the principles of fair play in order to propagate and implement Qatar’s government agendas.”
Al-Sheikh, in comments published by the Saudi Gazette newspaper, argued that FIFA as being responsible for the current situation even though it is Saudi Arabia which has created the diplomatic rift between itself and neighbouring Qatar, and which has been a problem well before the World Cup games.
Worryingly, al-Sheikh also said that “much remains to be said about the World Cup in 2022” when it is due to be held in Qatar.
Separately, the Saudi Football Federation has filed a formal complaint with FIFA. In its complaint, the Federation said that the channel “abused the ethics of sports after the opening match between Saudi Arabia and host nation Russia through its presenters and analysts contrary to the laws of the International Federation which stresses the need to exclude sport from politics.”