Eleven Sports Network, a licensee of Serie A in a number of territories and a major investor in Italian football has sent out a letter to Serie A Chief Executive Officer demanding that the Italian Super Cup game between Juventus and AC Milan not be held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
This follows beIN Media Group’s letter to Serie A urging them to change the venue of next week’s Italian Super Cup Final match as Saudi Arabia has been actively supporting a plague of piracy against world sport.
While Serie A have recently said that the match in Jeddah will promote ‘Made in Italy’ and its values, the match in fact serves merely as a promotion of ‘Stolen by Saudi Arabia’ and the endorsement of a flagrant daily breach of international norms and the rule of law, an analyst said.
In the letter addressed to Serie A Chief Executive Officer Marco Brunelli, Eleven Sports Network said: "We have become aware, with deep concern, of the reported plans to stage the Juventus v AC Milan Italian Super Cup match in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 16th January 2019. As you are aware Eleven Sports is a licensee of Serie A in a number of territories and a major investor in Italian football. The decision to stage such a significant match in Saudi Arabia has considerable implications for Eleven Sports and for the longer term value of Italian football rights.
"As has been widely reported, the pirate service 'beoutQ' operates its streaming services out of Saudi Arabia, in the full knowledge of the Saudi Arabian authorities. This service is available throughout the Middle East region and is now increasingly available throughout Africa and even within Europe and the USA, where Eleven Sports operates a number of its own, legitimate services. beoutQ transmits Serie A content, along with numerous other premium sports rights such as La Liga, UEFA, Ligue 1, Bundesliga to name but a few, and many of these rights are licensed by Eleven Sports. Such activity causes irreparable harm to Eleven Sports, as well as to other legitimate broadcasters around the world such as the beIN Media Group, who are each faced with unauthorised, and illegal competition to their rights.
"The staging of this match in Saudi Arabia serves only to reward a country that has done nothing to combat the continued presence and operation of the beoutQ service from within its borders. The message this sends to the authorities in Saudi Arabia, to the pirate services operating from the territory and to all those legitimate broadcasters dealing with this daily assault on their rights, is that Serie A is unconcerned by such activity and even seems happy to reward it. This decision will drastically damage the ongoing efforts of the entire sports industry to combat and end this hugely disruptive, illegal and damaging piracy. We strongly urge you to reconsider the decision to stage this match in Saudi Arabia."