Fifa has threatened to take action against Saudi TV station BeoutQ for 'illegally' distributing the opening matches of 2018 Fifa World Cup in the MENA region.
Fifa in a statement wrote: "Fifa takes infringements of its intellectual property very seriously and is exploring all options to stop the infringement of its rights, including in relation to action against legitimate organisations that are seen to support such illegal activities. We refute that BeoutQ has received any rights from Fifa to broadcast any Fifa event."
The news comes after beIN Sports won the rights to broadcast the world cup matches in MENA. However, beIN which is the Qatari news network is banned by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain as part of their blockade as these countries accuse Qatar of supporting extremist groups in the region.
Meanwhile, The Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) too has threatened action against BeoutQ.
In a statement, CAF said that it held on an exclusive basis, all the rights pertaining to its competitions, including all the related matches and any related official events, without any restrictions as to content, time, place and law.
The statement further said: "No one other that CAF is legally authorized or empowered, without the prior written authorization of CAF to use and/or exploit any media rights related to its competitions, regardless of the methods of broadcast transmission (satellite, terrestrial, IP…).
CAF has granted an exclusive license to beIN Media Group for the transmission of the main CAF competitions, including but not limited to, the final tournament and the qualifying matches of the Total Africa Cup of Nations, the Total CAF Champions League, the Total CAF Confederation Cup, the Total CAF Super Cup, the Total Women Africa Cup of Nations.
This exclusive licence covers in particular the following territories: Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Eritrea, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
"Recently, an entity called “BeoutQ” has put in place a major piracy operation against beIN Media Group. In this regard, CAF strongly condemns the practice of the audiovisual piracy of sport events, a real scourge for our industry."