beIN Sports back on du: UAE will be watching the FIFA World Cup live
A deal to restore beIN Media channels in the UAE was reached late on Sunday, according to a source with knowledge of the ‘du’ negotiations, restoring the ability of thousands of fans to watch World Cup games live.
Subscribers to telecom company du in the UAE also confirmed they were once again receiving pictures from the sports broadcaster after channels were blocked for more than 24 hours.
“beIN channels are back and resumed the regular broadcasting.” du replied to customers on social media after they voiced their concerns, reported Communicate, a news site.
Earlier on Sunday, beIN said “lengthy” talks had broken down, and their programs would not be carried on Du – including games from the upcoming World Cup.
Services to Du had been interrupted since Saturday, with the UAE firm saying the blank screens were the result of action taken by beIN.
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The contract dispute came not only less than a fortnight before the World Cup starts but also on the eve of the one-year anniversary of a diplomatic dispute between the countries.
A group of countries including the UAE cut all ties with Qatar on June 5, 2017, accusing Doha of supporting extremism and being too close to regional rival Iran.
In the immediate aftermath of the diplomatic crisis, beIN channels were blocked in the UAE but were back on the air by July last year.
Was piracy the real problem?
And as well as ongoing political tensions, beIN says its channels are being pirated in a sophisticated operation across the region, with pictures broadcast illegally by a company called beoutQ.
The source earlier told AFP, a news site, that the dispute with du had been caused by ongoing commercial negotiations over TV carriage rights and had nothing to do with political tensions or pirating claims.
BeIN has urged FIFA to launch legal action against those bootlegging their broadcasts in the region.