Qatar's beIN Sports sues Lebanese TV company over World Cup broadcasts

Tele Liban vows to show the remainder of the tournament to defend "the rights of Lebanese citizens"

beIN Sports presenter Richard Keys chats with footballer Yaya Toure.

beIN Sports presenter Richard Keys chats with footballer Yaya Toure.

Qatar-based beIN Sports has taken a lawsuit against Lebanese TV station, Tele Liban, over their airing of World Cup matches without consent.

beIN Sports holds the exclusive rights for broadcasting the 2014 World Cup across the Middle East and North African region – 22 countries in all.

The rights to broadcast the World Cup games in Lebanon were awarded to Lebanese firm Sama, who priced the World Cup-package at more than $100 per household.

After a public outcry over the cost, the government stepped in to broker a deal with Sama and agreed to pay them $3m to give broadcasting rights to Lebanese TV cable providers.

However, the deal still left some without access to the games, in particular those who did not have the satellite channels.

Tele Liban stepped in and started broadcasting the World Cup matches from June 16, the date when all cable stations were allowed to broadcast the games.

beIN Sports has now lodged a case against Tele Liban, which came before the courts this week.

Tele Liban director Talal Maqdessi, speaking to reporters outside the Justice Palace, said the state broadcaster “will defend its rights and the rights of Lebanese citizens”.

“FIFA is a non-profit organisation,” he said. “It has enough advertisers to collect hundreds of millions of dollars; it does not need to intimidate the Lebanese poor.”

Maqdessi said a decision was issued in Europe in 2012 saying World Cup matches should not be given exclusive broadcasting rights.

He said they respected the law and would wait for beIN Sports to demonstrate that their exclusive broadcasting rights were violated.

“It’s impossible to deprive the audience from watching the World Cup,” he said.

He confirmed that, regardless of the lawsuit, Tele Liban would broadcast the remainder of the World Cup games.

The lawsuit case was adjourned until July 4.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: BigJon

FIFA is absolutely NOT a non-profit organisation unlike the IOC. FIFA's closest "ally" is in fact FIA- the Formula One organization headed by Bernie Ecclestone. It's VERY MUCH a profit organisation. Indeed the more profit the merrier, as that is what it was designed to be.

FIFA's greatest art is in convincing people that it IS a non-profit, but in reality its a hard core marketing agency - pure and simple, and don't let them succeed in letting you believe otherwise.

Posted by: Javed

FIFA World Cup is of the people , by the people and for the people... Salute to Tele Liban and all the other broadcasters around the world who have gone a long way (broken rules or whatever) to ensure people their deserving entertainment. . Exclusive Broadcasting Rights of the FIFA World Cup must be made illegal..

Posted by: Fady

No Ahmed, they paid. Read the article. 3 million usd was paid. Although in my opinion this is overpriced! Monopolistic pricing at work. Shame shame on you FIFA, and shame on BeIn for trying to profiteer from a global sports event.

World Cup rights should not be exclusive. FIFA should make sure to have at least two distributors in every territory to avoid abuse of market power. Otherwise local regulator should intervene.

Posted by: Ahmed

you do realize they are benefiting from getting advertiser money?? And they can get away with it because they paid nothing for the rights to broadcast!!

whereas others have to pay fees for the right to broadcast and then try to get back the money from advertising.

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Digital dilemma: the future on advertising

Digital dilemma: the future on advertising

If you’re not advertising online these days, you’re not advertising...

Saudi Arabia's rulers adapt message for social media age

Saudi Arabia's rulers adapt message for social media age

Saudi Arabia's leaders have historically courted public opinion...

Changing channels: what is the future of TV in the Middle East?

Changing channels: what is the future of TV in the Middle East?

It is a relentless argument: has the advent of digital content...

Most Discussed