Investigation by seven independent satellite communications experts has confirmed that Arabsat’s satellite frequencies have not been and are not being used by “beoutQ” for such illegal broadcasts
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, July 16, 2018 — The Riyadh-based Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Arabsat) informed Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) on Sunday July 15 that an investigation undertaken by seven independent satellite communications experts has confirmed that Arabsat’s satellite frequencies have not been and are not being used by an entity operating as “beoutQ” for illegal broadcasts of 2018 FIFA World Cup matches.
The detailed letter to FIFA, sent on Arabsat’s behalf, summarized the evidence conclusively showing the inaccuracy of FIFA’s claim that Arabsat has been “distributing” beoutQ’s pirate broadcasts. “Arabsat has always been confident that our satellite network has not been used by beoutQ,” said Khalid Balkheyour, Arabsat’s CEO. “Nevertheless, we undertook a very costly investigation to eliminate any doubts and to provide evidence to share with FIFA and the world.”
Arabsat’s letter to FIFA detailed specific tests showing why FIFA’s claims that beoutQ was operating on specific Arabsat frequencies at specific times were erroneous. For example, FIFA claimed that beoutQ was operating on Arabsat frequency 12341 MHz for several World Cup matches. Tests conducted by several independent satellite communications experts, however, showed that that frequency carried no video content on the dates and at the times claimed by FIFA.
FIFA also asserted that beoutQ broadcast different matches on Arabsat frequency 11996 MHz. Again, Arabsat’s technical experts demonstrated that FIFA’s claims were incorrect. Arabsat’s experts showed that blocking the frequency had no effect on beoutQ’s pirate World Cup broadcasts, and that only legitimate broadcasts (e.g., BBC, Sky News and CNBC) – not beoutQ – were available on that frequency.
Arabsat’s investigation also showed that other satellite carriers might be carrying beoutQ’s pirate broadcasts. “We received one set of test results in which our expert blocked all Arabsat frequencies,” Balkheyour said, “but beoutQ’s World Cup broadcasts continued.”
This clearly suggests that beoutQ used a different, non-Arabsat satellite to broadcast the offending content.
“Arabsat is entirely vindicated in its decision to undertake its comprehensive investigation before taking the drastic step of shutting down satellite transponders – as FIFA had demanded,” added Balkheyour.
The experts’ findings have deepened Arabsat’s conviction that beIN Sports, a subsidiary of Al Jazeera, is behind allegations that Arabsat satellites have been used by beoutQ. Arabsat believes that beIN Sports contrived the allegations as part of a smear campaign to deflect attention away from its technological inability to prevent beoutQ’s piracy.
Arabsat has demanded that FIFA immediately issue a public retraction of and apology for its claims that Arabsat was somehow complicit or did not do enough to stop beoutQ. “Arabsat has been deeply offended and harmed by beIN’s and FIFA’s attacks,” Balkheyour said. “Now that FIFA has been proven wrong, it should apologize for making such offensive statements.”