Newcastle Premier League club takeover takes geopolitical twist as BeIN media group weighs in

Newcastle Premier League club takeover takes geopolitical twist as BeIN media group weighs in

BeIN, which has exclusive rights to the Premier League in the Middle East and North Africa, has written separate letters to the Premier League and several club presidents in light of a proposed takeover of Newcastle.

The tripartite consortium that is trying to take over the club includes the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In a letter sent by beIN CEO Yousef Al-Obaidly to Premier League CEO Richard Masters, Al-Obaidly alludes to the “direct role” that Saudi Arabia played in the “launch, promotion and operation” of alleged beoutQ pirate streaming service.

Newcastle Premier League club takeover takes geopolitical twist as BeIN media group weighs in
Newcastle Premier League club takeover takes geopolitical twist as BeIN media group weighs in

“We consider it essential for the Premier League to thoroughly investigate the potential purchaser of the club, including all directors, officers and other representatives of KSA PIF or other Saudi entities involved or otherwise providing financing for the acquisition, “the letter said.

“Our request is based solely on the past and present theft of Saudi Arabia of your intellectual property rights and those of your member clubs.”

Yousef al-Obaidly attends the Champions League group match between PSG and Shakhtar Donetsk in 2015.
READ: Activists argue Saudi involvement in takeover of English football club is an attempt to ‘whitewash regime abuses’

BeoutQ has not responded to previous email requests for CNN comments on its activities in the past few months.

CNN attempted to contact the Saudi media ministry regarding the piracy allegations, but received no response.

The Premier League declined to comment when contacted by CNN.

According to Premier League rules, potential new club owners must pass the organization and appropriate person test.

BeIN previously accused beoutQ of tearing up its stream and sports commentary of live matches, replacing the beIN logo with a beoutQ logo.

A number of other sports leagues, including the NBA and the US Tennis Association, filed complaints with the US government last year regarding beoutQ, claiming that it illegally transmits beIN coverage.

The Premier League previously accused beoutQ of violating its intellectual property rights “on a systematic and widespread basis”.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is chairman of PIF in hopes of buying a stake in Newcastle United.

The league also released a statement in July that it had contacted nine law firms in Saudi Arabia for legal advice, which “simply refused to act on our behalf or initially accepted instructions, but later for recuse yourself “.

The allegations of piracy come after Amnesty International accused the PIF of “sports washing” and using the Premier League as a “public relations tool to divert attention from the country’s abysmal human rights record”.

READ: Footballers, men and women, experience “dramatic” increase in mental health issues during lockout

CNN made several attempts to contact Saudi officials and the PIF about Amnesty criticism, but received no response.

In September 2019, a Premier League report said that pirate broadcasts from beoutQ were “transmitted using satellite infrastructure owned and operated by Arabsat”.

Arabsat did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

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