Saudi Arabia has vociferously denied allegations by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and other bodies claiming illegal television channel beoutQ is based in the Kingdom.
In several statements during the Wimbledon championships, the bodies had called for the “immediate closure” of the illegal piracy operation, adding that it damages the value of broadcasting rights, which help fund tennis.
However, Saudi Arabia’s media ministry said Wimbledon’s press release “baselessly claims that beoutQ is based in Saudi Arabia and suggests that Saudi Arabia is somehow complicit in beoutQ’s broadcasts,” adding that the Gulf country had “relentlessly” combated the website’s activities in the kingdom in line with its commitment to protect intellectual property rights.
Wimbledon is currently taking place in London but tennis’ governing bodies claim illegal content provided by BeoutQ is being distributed on Riyadh-based Arabsat.
“The world’s tennis governing bodies have joined forces to publicly condemn and call for the immediate closure of the illegal Saudi Arabian-based piracy operation, ‘beoutQ’,” they said in a joint statement.
World football’s governing body FIFA as well as European football’s UEFA and motorsport heavyweights Formula One have also complained of illegal content broadcasted on beoutQ.
It remains unclear who owns or operates the channel.
Global sports network beIN Sports holds regional rights to broadcast key international sports events including tennis tournaments and the FIFA World Cup.
BeIN was blocked in Saudi Arabia last year, however, when the countries cut their diplomatic ties.