File photo of beIN Sports CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi, (Reuters)
An Egyptian economic court has handed down a hefty EGP400 million fine to Qatari beIN Media Group, the parent company of beIN Sports, over monopolistic practices.
A case was filed by the Egyptian Competition Authority against the Qatari group and its CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi in October last year over what the authority said was repeated violations of an Egyptian law on competition and the prevention of monopolistic practices.
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.
An Egyptian prosecution source told Ahram Online last year that such practices 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.
Last year, 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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