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Saudi viewers angry over apparent ban on World Cup streaming

An inflatable depicting the World Cup trophy is seen during pregame celebrations prior to the World Cup group F soccer match between Belgium and Morocco, at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022.

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — World Cup viewers in Saudi Arabia say the federal government has blocked a Qatari-owned streaming service that was alleged to broadcast matches within the kingdom.

The suspension has shocked and outraged clients of TOD TV, which holds the rights to point out the World Cup in Saudi Arabia. TOD TV is owned by Qatar’s beIN Sports activities Media Group.

Saudi-based subscribers who weren’t in a position to watch World Cup matches have flooded TOD TV’s Twitter account this week with refund requests and screenshots of the service’s web site saying “Sorry, the requested web page is violating the laws of the Media Ministry.”

In a message shared by subscribers, TOD TV apologized to viewers “for the momentary lack of service.”

You are reading: Saudi viewers angry over apparent ban on World Cup streaming

“This is because of causes past our management,” it stated. “We worth our viewers having a premium person expertise and are engaged on resuming regular companies as quickly as potential.”

TOD TV, the Saudi Media Ministry and Overseas ministry didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

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Qatar’s beIN group was caught within the crosshairs of a bitter political dispute between Riyadh and Doha in recent times. Saudi Arabia in 2017 led a gaggle of 4 Arab nations in imposing a boycott on Qatar over its help for political Islamists, ties with Iran and its funding of Al Jazeera, a satellite tv for pc information channel that has at occasions harshly criticized different Gulf Arab governments.

Through the boycott, beIN Sports activities misplaced its license to broadcast in Saudi Arabia, and Saudi viewers misplaced their solely technique to watch soccer from Europe’s greatest leagues and Asia’s high competitions outdoors of pirated companies. However final yr after Saudi Arabia mended ties with Qatar, beIN resumed service for the key Saudi market.

TOD TV is broadcasting among the matches, together with Saudi Arabia’s, at no cost, however 42 matches have been solely going to be accessible on the streaming service, which apparently was blocked simply earlier than the beginning of the match on Nov. 20. Subscribers reported they’ve been unable to entry the service for the reason that opening ceremony, through which Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sat just some seats from Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

Competitors for for income and tens of millions of subscribers within the Center East is escalating amongst regional streaming companies, together with the Shahid service operated by the Saudi-owned MBC Group.

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The Saudi authorities is believed to carry a controlling stake in MBC Group after a sequence of arrests in 2017 ordered by Prince Mohammed over corruption allegations that helped him centralize energy within the kingdom.

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AP World Cup protection: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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