UAE sports fans in search of alternative to suspended beIN Sports

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Tennis fans in the UAE have been unable to follow Roland Garros due to beIN Sports channels being unavailable.

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.

The beIN Sports website is also inaccessible with the Emirates.

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.

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.

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…

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