The state-owned Qatari sports broadcaster, beIN, has asked the Italian football league not to play a decisive match in Saudi Arabia, accusing the country of supporting piracy of live coverage and highlighting protests from human rights activists.
The staging of Italy's Super Cup in Jeddah next Wednesday has coached Series A in the Saudi-led economic boycott against Qatar, in place for 19 months.
BeIN holds the rights of the Middle East on most major sporting events, the viewers in the region depend on the payment of subscriptions to broadcasts aired from Doha. This has led the network to become a substitute for the regional diplomatic standoff over accusations, denied by Qatar, that the super-rich state would support militant groups.
Evidence has been gathered by beIN, claiming to show how Saudi-backed channels are pulling out their live stock and inserting the "beoutQ" mark on Qatari logos, including for Serie A matches where Cristiano Ronaldo is playing for Juventus.
The World governing body FIFA is one of the football organizations that support its rights holders by suing in Saudi Arabia. BeIN chief executive Yousef Al-Obaidly has written to his Serie A counterpart Luigi De Siervo, appointed last month, to ask the Italian league "to join beoutQ in the international sports community's fight against piracy. . "
"Among all the countries in the world that you could have chosen to host your game, you have chosen the country that supports the theft of your content on an industrial scale," wrote Al-Obaidly in a letter sent on Wednesday.
"If the match continues, Series A will not have met its obligations to its member clubs and the wider sports community … whose intellectual property rights and sources of revenue are threatened by the actions of beoutQ. "
Tickets for the match between Juventus and AC Milan at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium sold out in less than two days.
Al-Obaidly asked the Serie A to reconsider "if it's appropriate to continue the Super Cup match in Jeddah, while other options remain available even at this late stage."
It has already been requested that the match be moved after the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, Washington Post columnist, at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. According to US intelligence estimates and experts, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who controls all the levers of power in Saudi Arabia, has probably ordered or at least had knowledge of the killing. The Saudi authorities say that those who killed Khashoggi have exceeded their authority.
In his letter to the Serie A, Al-Obaidly "noted the increasingly frequent calls … asking to re-examine the place," citing Italian politicians, Amnesty International, groups of journalists and "conscious sports fans ".
Qatar has also been criticized for working conditions and the rights of migrant workers when preparing for the World Cup in 2022.
There was no immediate response to requests for comment from Serie A and the Saudi government.
The organizers of the Asian Cup, currently playing in the United Arab Emirates, said Wednesday they have asked lawyers in Saudi Arabia to take action to stop emissions from BeoutQ.