Arabsat president and CEO Khalid Balkheyour firmly denies that his satellite operation is involved in the distribution of pirated signals from beoutQ over the Middle East.
Various recent statements from FIFA and other sports bodies have formally complained about the pirated signals, but Arabsat is now demanding an apology from FIFA. Arabsat says it wrote to FIFA on July 15th responding to press reports and saying that an investigation by “seven independent satellite communications experts” confirms its satellite frequencies had not been used by beoutQ.
However, there isn’t much doubt that beoutQ users are pointing their dishes to 26 degrees East, which either means an Arabsat slot, or its extremely near-neighbour (at 25.5 deg East) which is occupied by Eutelsat 25B and its spacecraft partner Es’Hail 1. FIFA has specifically claimed that beoutQ was operating on Arabsat frequency 12341 MHz (and normally home to MBC ‘Pro Sports’ transmissions) for several World Cup matches and also 11996 MHz. But Arabsat says that tests conducted by several independent satellite communications experts showed that that frequency carried no video content at all at the very dates and times asserted by FIFA.
Arabsat’s experts say that blocking the frequency had no effect on beoutQ’s pirate World Cup broadcasts, and that only legitimate broadcasts (e.g., BBC, Sky News and CNBC) were available on that frequency – not beoutQ.
“Arabsat has always been confident that our satellite network has not been used by beoutQ,” said Balkheyour in the Arabsat statement. “Nevertheless, we undertook a very costly investigation to eliminate any doubts and to provide evidence to share with FIFA and the world. Arabsat has been deeply offended and harmed by beIN’s and FIFA’s attacks,” he declared. “Now that FIFA has been proven wrong, it should apologise for making such offensive statements.”
FIFA has engaged lawyers to take action in Saudi Arabia against beoutQ, which is widely available in Saudi Arabia, and says it is working alongside other affected sports rights owners to protect its interests. Saudi insists that beoutQ is not based in the country.
Would-be viewers to beoutQ need to buy a dedicated ‘DreamBox’ satellite decoder receiver (for about 430 Saudi Riyals-[€98.60]). The marketing offer promises that buyers will also receive all of MBC’s (legitimate) sports channels, “Champions League, Premier League, Fifa World Cup’18, La Liga, Bundes Liga and many more”.