For Qatari Network, Political Feud Spills Into Stadiums

“Every single obstacle to prevent the commercialization of beIN channels has been put in place by the Saudi authorities,” Jordan said.


Saudi Arabia’s Nawaf al-Abid, right, with Japan’s Hotaru Yamaguchi during a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday. BeIN owned the rights to the game, but it could not get members of its production staff into Saudi Arabia to broadcast it, and then had one of its reporters ejected from the stadium before kickoff.

Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The sports dispute is collateral damage in a broader political feud. In June, a group of Qatar’s Arab rivals — Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain — severed all ties with Qatar, accusing its rulers of destabilizing the region and supporting terrorism. Qatar denies the accusations, but its neighbors issued a list of demands that Qatar, one of the world’s largest suppliers of natural gas, must accede to before relations can be normalized. Among these was the closure of the pan-Arab news network Al Jazeera, which, like beIN Sports, is bankrolled by Qatar’s…

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