UK: beIN Media asks Premier League to block Newcastle United sale

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Image source: beIN Media Group

A £300M+ offer to buy an 80% stake in the English Premier League football (soccer) team, Newcastle United, by a Saudi-backed wealth fund is reportedly close to being finalized, pending Premier League review.

It’s noteworthy because Premier League matches have been among the most valuable programming stolen in one of the world’s largest ongoing video piracy operations, against Qatar-based beIN Media by the (also) Saudi-backed piracy operation called beoutQ.

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The head of beIN Media has warned the Premier League that beoutQ’s piracy is likely to continue, damaging the League.  According to other recent reports, The Premier League has asked nine Saudi-based law firms to assist in pursuing copyright claims (none of which acted).  Also, Amnesty International has come forward in protest of the acquisition because of alleged Saudi human rights violations.

Read the latest report (April 22, 2020) in The Guardian

Read more in The New York Times

Read about the history of the beoutQ piracy case

Why it matters

It’s a strange turn of events when a business venture with possible indirect ties to a well known piracy operation becomes co-owner of a club whose matches are being pirated by said operation.

It’s difficult to say whether or how the new ownership, should the acquisition of Newcastle United be approved, might influence the piracy situation, and it would be a strange situation indeed if the new ownership were to circumvent beIN Media and grant distribution rights directly to beoutQ.

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