Dec 17 (Reuters) – Qatari broadcaster beIN Sports have struck a new media rights deal with the Premier League to telecast its matches in 24 countries in the Middle East and North Africa until 2025, the league announced on Thursday.

Neither beIN Sports nor the Premier League disclosed the valuation of the contract but a source close to the deal said the broadcaster will pay the Premier League $500 million.

The contract is for the 2022-2025 rights cycle and will allow them to broadcast all 380 matches live every season.

“We are pleased to agree a significant deal with beIN Sports, who are a longstanding and valued partner,” Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said.

“They have an outstanding track record of delivering top-quality Premier League content across all its platforms.”

BeIN media group chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi said the deal was an endorsement of the league’s anti-piracy stance.

“This deal demonstrates that rights-holders who do the most to protect their intellectual property also do the most to protect the value of their media rights,” he said.

In 2018, Qatar filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO), saying Saudi Arabia had refused to take effective action against alleged piracy of beIN’s content by beoutQ, a commercial-scale pirating operation.

In July, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Competition had permanently cancelled the licence of beIN Sports, which has been barred from broadcasting in the kingdom since mid-2017 due to a dispute with Qatar.

The broadcaster was initially blocked in Saudi Arabia under a boycott imposed when Riyadh and its allies severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar in June 2017 over Doha’s alleged support of terrorism, a charge Qatar denies.

Earlier this year, a WTO panel found Saudi Arabia had breached global rules on intellectual property rights by failing to prosecute beoutQ.

BeoutQ is widely available in Saudi Arabia but Riyadh has repeatedly said it is not based there, and that the Saudi government is committed to protecting intellectual property. Reuters could not determine who owns or operates beoutQ.

In July, a Saudi Arabian-backed takeover bid for Newcastle United collapsed after the Premier League faced pressure to block the deal due to concerns over alleged broadcast piracy in the Gulf state. (Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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