beIn Media Group has issued a strong response protesting the Egyptian Cairo Economic Court’s judgement fining beIN Media Group EGP400 million for violating Egyptian competition protection laws.
beIN Media Group says it categorically rejects – and is shocked and appalled by – the decision, which is says ignores the reality of the pay-TV market and sends a deeply troubling message to organisations wanting to do business in Egypt. "The judgement is based on unfounded and politically motivated allegations by the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) that have no basis in fact or law. At all times," said beIN, "it acted in full compliance with all relevant laws, including competition law, and will pursue all legal means available to challenge the judgement."
The case was filed by the Egyptian Competition Authority in October 2017, after the broadcaster switched satellite providers from Egypt's Nilesat to Es'hailSat last year. The authority said the move affected competition and Egyptian subscribers were forced to pay for content they did not want, and to connect new satellite dishes at their own expense to view premium tournaments such as the Africa Cup of Nations.
beIN said the authority's allegations have no basis in competition law and are divorced from the commercial realities of the pay-TV market. "The claim that beIN violated competition law by offering bundled sports packages ignores standard market practice in the pay-TV industry not only in the MENA region, but around the world. Our premium sport packages provide the highest quality content at competitive prices to all of our customers, which has enabled beIN – through significant investment – to become one of the leading broadcasters of sport events and competitions worldwide.” beIN response added that the latest agreement with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) resulted in substantial revenue increases, thus providing vital funding for the development of football in Africa and Egypt
“The Egyptian court’s injunction requiring the sale of each sporting event on a stand-alone basis would prevent beIN from continuing to carry on business in this market and require beIN – and all international broadcasters active in Egypt – to fundamentally reconfigure their business models. This attempt to exclude beIN from the Egyptian market constitutes a serious violation by Egypt of both its own domestic law and its international obligations, with the local regulator manifestly acting without valid authority and solely in self-interest. Already, federations, leagues and rights holders have signaled their concern at the judgment, which undermines the actual market value of their rights for purely political motivations. The practical reality of the judgment, if enforced, is the very real possibility of a black-out of certain high-profile live sports on Egyptian TV. All this, ultimately, harms Egyptian sports fans; politics has no place in sport.”