The news also means that the immovable potential acquisition of Newcastle United by a Saudi-led consortium could now be one step closer.
Qatar-based broadcaster BIN Sports reported that Saudi Arabia would soon lift the channel’s four-year ban and promised to shut down the pirates’ website.
BIN has the right to broadcast the Premier League across the Middle East but Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Competition (GAC) suspended its channel on 201 channels and “permanently revoked” the broadcaster’s license last year amid a bitter dispute between Riyadh and Doha, which was resolved in January.
“We have been informed that the 4.5-year illegal ban on BIN Sports in Saudi Arabia will be lifted soon,” BIN Media Group said in a statement.
Cafes and restaurants in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, have been using satellite dishes to show games on the BIN sports channel since the end of the diplomatic standoff.
The BIIN statement further said, “The Saudis have approached them to settle our legal case, including the arbitrator of our 1 billion investment.”
A court case, brought by BIN under international arbitration rules and claiming more than $ 1 billion in damages against Saudi Arabia, is still pending. The arbitration will be held in London.
The lifting of the ban will remove a key obstacle to the acquisition of English Premier League (EPL) football club Newcastle United by the state’s sovereign wealth fund (PIF).
A major issue raised by critics of the 305-million-pound ($ 414.4 million) bid proposed by Saudi Arabia’s PIF, PCP Capital Partners and Ruben Brothers was to buy Newcastle United from British businessman Mike Ashley in April 2020.
Considering Saudi Arabia as the largest market in the region, BIIN said on Wednesday that the state’s ban was the TV channel’s “single objection” to Newcastle’s occupation.
The proposed acquisition broke with the consortium last year, saying “long processes” and “global uncertainty” no longer make potential investments commercially viable.
The Newcastle owner began legal action against the Premier League earlier this year, which was postponed until early 2022.
Tha in Qatar-Saudi relations
The BIIN announcement came after Qatar and Saudi Arabia severed ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt in Doha. Qatar has vehemently denied it.
The real ruler of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, met last month with the Emir of Qatar and the UAE’s national security adviser.
Shortly afterwards, a football-friendly was announced between the players of the two top Saudi clubs in Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain and next year in Riyadh.
Last December, EPL and BIN announced a new rights deal worth 500 500 million for the Middle East and North Africa region that will run until 2025.
According to a British newspaper report, 19 of the 20 EPL clubs supported the deal, with Newcastle being the only club to vote against.