Sports fans in the UAE have been reporting on Monday that service providers in the country – both du and Etisalat – have stopped broadcasting beIN Sports channels.
Subscribers attempting to access beIN Sports channels have been getting the message ‘This channel is unavailable’ on their screens.
The Qatari-owned network of sports channels is believed to have been blocked in the wake of news that six Arab countries, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, UAE, Bahrain and Yemen, have severed diplomatic ties with Qatar over alleged support of Islamist terrorist groups and relations with Iran.
The Gulf state called the decision “unjustified” and with “no basis in fact”.
Two weeks ago, the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain blocked Qatari news sites, including Al Jazeera.
Etisalat customer service phone line has an automated message that says: “Dear Customer Al Jazeera news channels are currently not available on Elife TV. This is a generic issue and not related to your Elife TV. We regret the inconvenience.”
beIN Sports was originally launched as Al Jazeera Sport in 2003 before it was re-branded 10 years later.
Hi Bein, what's going to happen here in the UAE after developments today, my package has already terminated, I can't live without my Footie— Mike Deedigan (@Deda1011) June 5, 2017
beIN Sports owns the exclusive Middle East rights for the most important events in the world including the ongoing French Open tennis tournament, the NBA Finals, Formula One and all the major football competitions.
If the channels continue to be suspended, sports fans in the Emirates will have no legal alternative to follow such events.
beIN Sports executives have so far been unavailable for comment.
@Sport360 Now that BEIN is not working here, what other options do we have to watch RG? And everything else from football to basketball?— Patrick Speisser (@Spock1502) June 5, 2017
BXJSOJXJQIJXKX THEY ACTUALLY BLOCKED BEIN SPORTS BECAUSE OF QATAR— Hals (@emerxldpali) June 5, 2017
They doin football so dirty. Can't believe they blocked beIN sports on DU just because they're Qatari based 😒 pic.twitter.com/2buobKEYsY— Raseel (@falasteeniye) June 5, 2017
So stupid that @beINSPORTS is now blocked in the UAE due to political issues!! How am I supposed to watch the NBA Finals???????? Smh— Kareem Helbaoui 🏀 (@KHelbaoui) June 5, 2017
While beIN Sports channels remain available in Egypt, Sky News Arabia has reported that football giants Ahly and Zamalek are officially boycotting the network “effective immediately”.
Reputable Middle East football website Ahdaaf, meanwhile, tweeted that Saudi national team players and staff “have been banned from speaking to and appearing on Qatar-owned sports broadcasters beIN Sports and Al Kass“.
More to follow…
The ground-breaking International Conference of Sports for Women (ICSW) – will return to the UAE capital this November for its fourth edition, with organisers – the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy (FBMA) – forecasting a historic event that will feature some of the most iconic industry figures and sports stars.
The biennial flagship conference – to be held at ADNEC – has gained international recognition as a unique industry gathering that promotes and supports FBMA’s vision of instilling sports into UAE culture and the daily life of all Emirati women, while advancing the global women’s sports debate.
The conference is synonymous with sporting excellence and known as a pioneering platform to both challenge and empower a variety of points of view.
The last event, staged in May 2015, saw some of the most inspirational industry leaders and influencing figures in women’s sport come together – including IOC Member Dato’ Beng Choo LOW from Malaysia, IOC Member and International Triathlon Union President Marisol Casado from Spain, Brazilian footballer Marta Vieira Da Silva, British double Olympic gold medalist Dame Kelly Holmes and France’s 2014 Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli.
The success of the first three iterations of the conference is further showcased by the increased demand for spaces, as organisers prepare to deliver the most successful chapter of ICSW yet.
The event’s high profile has also seen commercial interest in the conference increase year on year, and at a press conference in Abu Dhabi on Monday, organisers FBMA unveiled the first four official Partners of the 2017 event – founding partners Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) and Abu Dhabi Media (ADM), and main partners Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) and Dolphin Energy.
FBMA Board Member, Dr Omniyat Mohammed Al Hajeri, was thrilled to unveil four such influential and important Partners for the 2017 conference, and elaborated further on the plans for the November event.
She said: “It is wonderful to announce the return of ICSW for its fourth edition in 2017. The success of the conference over the last few years has sealed its reputation as a genuinely pioneering and important event for the whole sports industry, both here in the UAE and around the world.
“Testimony to that is the caliber of speakers that the event has attracted and continues to attract, and the stellar line-up of commercial Partners who wish to associate themselves with ICSW.”
An inspirational initiative of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, the two-day 2017 conference will facilitate discussions around the central theme of inspiring generations.
Each day of the conference will bring that theme to life through a combination of iconic keynote speeches and panel discussions which will seek to inspire future generations by focusing attention on six important topics that play a pivotal role in increasing female participation and creating equal opportunities in sports.
The diverse line-up of keynote speakers and informative panel discussions will be further supplemented by a series of seven Workshop sessions, whose topics will be announced over the coming months.
“The mission of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council is to have an environment that contributes to the growth in participation in sport for all segments of the community,” said His Excellency Aref Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
“ICSW is a truly unique platform that promotes women’s sport and helps break down existing barriers in participation and development.”
ICSW 2017 will take place at ADNEC from November 6-7. Registration is free, however with a maximum of 1,000 delegate spots per day, demand is expected to outstrip availability.
The registration process will open later in the summer, but those interested in attending are encouraged to pre-register by visiting www.fbma.ae/icsw/pre-registration.