File photo by Reuters
CAIRO – 4 September 2018: Cairo Economic Court upheld a verdict to fine Qatari-owned network beIN Sports and its chief executive, Nasser al-Khelaifi, LE 400 million ($22.3 million) over anti-competitive practices.
The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA), then led by Mona el-Garf, proved on January 3, 2017 that beIN Sports violated Article 8 (Paragraph G) of the Egyptian Competition Law (ECL), as it obliged subscribers to turn to Qatari satellite Sohail to watch the channel during the last African Cup in Gabon instead of using Egyptian satellite Nilesat, causing Nilesat direct economic losses and harming competition in the market.
According to the ECA, beIN Sports also violated Article 8 (Paragraph D) of the ECL when its subscription system was exploitative to the extent that it forced its customers to subscribe to all sports bundles if they want to watch any sports tournament.
In August, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Competition said that beIN would be fined 10 million SAR ($2.67 million) as the network had violated the country’s competition rules, according to a statement issued by the GAC.
The authority said, according to the statement, that many subscribers of the Qatari network lodged complaints concerning competition violations since March 2016.
In October 2017, the Office of Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) questioned Khelaifi about criminal allegations that he paid bribes to the FIFA to acquire exclusive rights to broadcast the 2026 and 2030 World Cup Championships.
The investigation came following beIN CEO’s involvement with former secretary-general of FIFA, Jérôme Valcke, in suspected bribery.