Egypt's top prosecutor refers beIN Sports CEO to court over monopolistic practices

Ahram Online , Wednesday 18 Oct 2017

Egypt's public prosecutor Nabil Sadek (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt's prosecutor-general has referred the CEO of the Qatari beIN Media Group, the parent company of beIN Sports, to an economic court on charges related to monopolistic practices, a source at the prosecution said on Wednesday.

The charges against Nasser Al-Khelaifi stem from alleged repeated violations of an Egyptian law on competition and the prevention of monopolistic practices, the source added.

Investigations showed that one of these violations pertains to the network cutting its services for Egyptian subscribers to the Egyptian satellite company NileSat, forcing them to switch to the Qatari Sohail satellite in order to watch African football matches.

The source said that this could force NileSat to pull out of the market and lose its customers in light of the Qatari company's monopoly over the right to broadcast various sports competitions.

BeIN Sports is also accused of committing another breach with its package deal system, which forces viewers to pay for championships they may not be interested in.

The sports media company holds exclusive rights to broadcast major African and European football matches in Egypt and the Middle East.

Matches featuring Egyptian teams who participate in African championship competitions can only be watched on the beIN Sports channels.

This is the second case against Al-Khelaifi in Egypt over similar violations by his group, with the first filed in August.

Last week, Swiss federal prosecutors announced a criminal case against Al-Khelaifi for suspected bribery linked to World Cup broadcast rights.

The investigation concerns alleged bribes offered to former FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke to award 2026 and 2030 World Cup rights to the BeIN Media Group, according to the office of Switzerland's attorney-general.

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