Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera Sport has seen its live coverage of the English Premier League limited as a result of illicit access to its satellite feeds in the UK.
Al Jazeera Sport in July beat out rival Abu Dhabi Media to win the rights to broadcast live all 380 league games for the next three seasons in a deal worth more than $360m.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the organising body for the top tier of English football requested that Al Jazeera reduce its coverage on Saturdays to just one 15:00 match, rather than the full roster. The decision means that subscribers, who pay around AED60 ($16) per month for Premier League coverage, will only be able to watch about half of the season’s remaining fixtures.
A source told the WSJ that the measure had been put in place as Al Jazeera subscription cards were being sold and shipped to the UK, where owners of bars and pubs were using them with generic set-top boxes to receive Al Jazeera’s live feed.
The source added that the limitations would not be lifted until Al Jazeera had put in place sufficient anti-piracy provisions.
"We have become aware that live broadcasts of Premier League football intended for certain overseas territories are, in a small number of cases, being re-transmitted in the UK," the Premier League said in an emailed statement to the newspaper. "We are working with some of our international broadcast partners to address this."
A representative for Al Jazeera Sport did not immediately respond to Arabian Business’s request for clarification on the matter.
The decision from the Premier League comes weeks after it signed £3bn worth of deals that handed live coverage rights in the UK to BSkyB and BT Sports.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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