Saudi Arabia has blocked TOD.tv, Qatari broadcaster BeIN’s popular streaming service, since the start of the World Cup on November 20, according to a Reuters witness, in a sudden disruption after 10 months of smooth operation.
BeIN Sports, with its online platforms including TOD.tv, is the official broadcaster of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to audiences in the Middle East and North Africa.
Accessing the TOD.tv page from Saudi Arabia displays a page stating: “Sorry, the requested page violates Ministry of Media regulations”. BeIN channels in general, were still available via satellite dishes
TOD.tv sent a message to its subscribers in Saudi Arabia on November 24 stating that it was experiencing an outage.
“Due to issues beyond our control, we are experiencing an outage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is currently affecting TOD.tv, the Official Streaming Partner of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” the report said. company in an email obtained by Reuters.
The Saudi government communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters outside of office hours. FIFA did not immediately respond.
BeIN declined to comment.
Twitter users flooded TOD.tv’s account with messages asking for their subscription fees to be refunded after the outage or posting with the hashtag “Media Ministry Blocks TOD”.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attended the opening ceremony of the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East. In a later Saudi match, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani wore a Saudi flag around his neck.
The moves were seen as signs that Qatar and Saudi Arabia had resumed their relationship after Riyadh and its allies severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar in 2017 over accusations Doha supported terrorism, a charge Qatar has denied.
That year, beIN was blocked in Saudi Arabia.
In 2020, the World Trade Organization (WTO) found Saudi Arabia had breached global rules on intellectual property rights by failing to prosecute pirate TV channel beoutQ for piracy of beIN’s content.
That same year, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Competition cancelled beIN Sports’ licence.
It began broadcasting again in Saudi in 2021