BeIN CEO urges Serie A CEO to reconsider Saudi match

BeIN Media Group has called on Italy’s top-tier football division Serie A to reconsider its decision to stage the Italian Super Cup in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, accusing the country of backing the piracy of live sports coverage.

In an open letter, addressed to Serie A chief executive Luigi De Siervo, beIN Media Group chief executive Yousef Al-Obaidly expressed his disappointment that the match was taking place in the region in light of ongoing legal action over the piracy of beIN content by the beoutQ service.

“Saudi Arabia has been actively supporting a plague of piracy on world sports and entertainment for over 18 months, which is undermining the long-term commercial prospects of Serie A and rights holders worldwide,” wrote Al-Obaidly.

“Furthermore, the MENA region is one of the world’s most important and fastest growing markets for sports and live entertainment and unless Saudi Arabia’s attempt to undermine the rule of law is addressed, it will fatally damage one of Serie A’s most important sources of revenue growth.”

Al- Obaidly went on to criticise Serie A president Gaetano Miccichè’s defence of the decision to play in the country in which he said football could not take a position on politics and that the match would promote a “Made in Italy” message.

“The match in fact serves merely as a promotion of ‘Stolen by Saudi Arabia’; and the endorsement of a flagrant daily breach of international norms and the rule of law. Of all the countries in the world that you could have chosen to host your game, you have chosen the one country that is state-supporting the theft of your content on an industrial scale and being investigated by the World Trade Organisation on those charges.”

Al-Obaidly finished by calling on Serie A to join “the collective legal action in Saudi Arabia that is shortly to be issued by Fifa and the AFC in relation to the beoutQ service”; issue a public statement against the beoutQ piracy operation; and reconsider whether to continue with the Super Cup match in Jeddah.

Read this: BeIn fights back against piracy and calls for rights-holder support