Saudi Arabia is also in active discussions over beIN’s claims for damages totalling more than $1bn due to piracy.
BeIN Sports has announced that Saudi Arabia will soon lift a four-year ban on their coverage, which was the TV channel’s singular objection to the takeover of Premier League’s Newcastle United by the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund (PIF).
According to a statement from beIN Media Group, published by Reuters, “We have been informed that Saudi Arabia’s 4.5-year illegal ban on beIN Sports is going to be reversed soon”.
“We have also been approached by Saudi for them to settle our legal cases, including our $1 billion investment arbitration,” beIN’s statement added.
The ending of the ban would remove a key obstacle behind the collapsed takeover of English Premier League (EPL) football club Newcastle United by the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund (PIF).
BeIN hold the rights to broadcast Premier League games across the Middle East, but Saudi Arabia suspended its channels in 2017 as part of an ongoing diplomatic dispute.
The Qatar-based beIN has been a major opponent to the Newcastle deal, pointing out to Premier League clubs that the ban in Saudi Arabia and the piracy of its content was doing massive damage to sports rights holders.
Saudi Arabia’s response to cases of unauthorised broadcasting of Premier League games in the country was a key issue raised by the Premier League ahead of the proposed £300m ($414.4m) bid from the PIF, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers to buy Newcastle United from Mike Ashley in April 2020.
After weeks of negotiations, the Saudis have agreed to allow beIN Sports back and committed to removing all pirate websites when informed of them by beIN.
Cafes and restaurants in the Saudi capital Riyadh have already started using satellite dishes to show games on beIN Sports channels since the diplomatic rift was ended.