Saudi Arabia is accusing Al-Jazeera’s international sports network BeIN of one-sided coverage of yesterday’s soccer World Cup game, in which hosts Russia thrashed the Saudi national team 5-0, and has threatened legal action against the network.
Saudi users have been complaining on social media that during the broadcast of Thursday’s game, BeIN commentary was pronouncedly one-sided, favoring the Russian squad over the Saudis.
BeIN is not available in Saudi Arabia but is the main broadcaster for the World Cup across most of the Middle East. Saudi users made their comments based on videos from the broadcast that were available online.
The Saudi authorities shared the users’ sentiment about BeIN, threatening legal action against the network.
“Necessary legal action will be taken in relation to BeIN wrongdoings against K.S.A, its sports & officials, and for exploiting sports to achieve political goals,” Turki al-Sheikh, chairman of the Saudi General Sports Authority, said on his Twitter account.
“This proves Saudi authorities’ true stance when banning this network from airing on its soil,” he added.
BeIN, and parent Al-Jazeera, are owned by the govnerment of Qatar, which has expressed support for Iran, Saudi Arabia’s main regional adversary. Qatar will play host to the next World Cup, in 2022.
The Saudi Arabian team has two more games to play in the World Cup’s group stage. It is facing Uruguay on June 20 and Egypt on June 26.