Qatar's beIN extends English Premier League contract
BeIN Sports announced on Friday it will extend its contract by three years to exclusively broadcast English Premier League football matches in the Middle East and North Africa region.
The contract means the Qatari broadcaster will show matches from the English top tier from next year to the end of the 2022 season.
"We are honoured that the Premier League has trusted beIN media Group and beIN Sports again to be the official and exclusive broadcaster, champion and custodian of its product in the Middle East and North Africa," said the broadcaster's chairman and Paris Saint-Germain president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
BeIN have the current contract in the region for broadcasting English Premier League games. The new season starts on Friday.
It will show 380 live games from England per season.
"BeIN is a long-term partner of the League and its first-rate coverage has helped to grow interest in our clubs across many countries," said Richard Scudamore, executive chairman of the Premier League.
"We look forward to continuing to work with them."
The latest agreement comes at a time when beIN is battling pirate broadcasters in the Middle East over illegal transmissions of its exclusive football coverage.
BeIN claims that since last October a pirate channel known as "beoutQ" -- using a signal from Riyadh-based satellite provider Arabsat -- has been illegally transmitting its broadcasts.
The issue came to a head during the recent World Cup after beIN said its exclusive rights to show tournament matches were illegally broadcast by beoutQ.
FIFA said in July that it was preparing to take legal action in Saudi Arabia against pirate broadcasters.
Saudi Arabia said recently it had confiscated more than 12,000 pirating devices across the country.
The piracy issue has surfaced at a politically sensitive time in the Gulf, with Qatar boycotted by its neighbours, including Saudi Arabia, in a highly fractious 14-month long diplomatic and economic dispute.
Qatar has been isolated since June 2017, accused by Saudi Arabia and its allies of supporting terrorism and being too close to Riyadh's archrival, Iran -- charges Doha denies.
© 2018 AFP