ROME: Pressure is growing on the Italian football federation, Juventus and Milan over the staging of next Wednesday’s Supercoppa in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
BeIN Sports, the Qatari television network, has submitted a formal complaint because of the hosting by Saudi Arabia of the BeoutQ channel which has pirated coverage of the World Cup, the Champions League and – currently – the Asian Cup.
ElevenSports, the web broadcaster of league football from Italy among other countries, has added its voice to the complaint.
Yousef al Obaidly, ceo of BeIN Sports, has written to the head of Serie A, Luigi De Siervo, asking him and his organisation to support the international community in the fight against piracy by switching the match to another venue.
He said: “Of all the countries in the world that you could choose to host your game, you have chosen the only country that supports the theft of your content on an industrial scale.
“If the match is played (in Saudi Arabia), then Serie A will be failing to respect its duties towards its member clubs and the wider sports community whose intellectual property rights and revenue streams are threatened by the actions of BeoutQ.”
The World Trade Organization has approved a request from Qatar, which is subject to an economic and political blockade by a Saudi-led coalition, to coordinate an investigation into Saudi Arabia for hacking the BeIn Sport in the Middle East and North Africa.
Objections and court action has been initiated by world federation FIFA and European governing body UEFA.
Last week Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, raised his own objections to the staging of the match because of Saudi restrictions on permitting women fans to attend stadia for men’s match.
Salvini, via Twitter, said: “That the Italian Super Cup is played in an Islamic country where women can not go to the stadium if they are not accompanied by a man is disgusting, a nonsense . . . I do not want a similar future in Italy for our daughters.”
Later Salvini added: “It is the death of football, of sporting values, of respect, of fun and of equality.You tell me if in the name of the business and of a few million euro that game should be played thousands of kilometers away, in a country where women can only go to the stadium if they are accompanied?”