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BeIN Media secures court victory over Dakar Rally and Tour de France’s organiser’s Saudi deal

BeIN Media has secured a courtroom victory in its ongoing battle to defend the value of sports rights it has acquired, with the Nanterre Commercial Court in France ordering Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) – organisers of the Dakar Rally, Tour de France and the Paris Marathon – to honour the terms of its five year media rights exclusive agreement withthe beleaguered media group.

BeIN Media took action against ASO after it claimed the latter had broken its exclusive contract by handing rights to the Dakar Rally to Saudi Arabia after it decided to move the venue of the event from South America to Saudi Arabia fro next year.

BeIN said that ASO attempted to exit its agreement to grant the rights to Saudi Arabia by unilaterally terminating the BeIN Agreement. ASO also refused to provide the Middle East broadcaster with its satellite feeds to its events.

BeIN and ASO had previously entered into a multi-million euro five year deal granting beIN exclusive media rights in the Middle East & North Africa to all ASO’s major events, including the Dakar Rally, the Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix, Paris-Nice, La Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Le Critérium du Dauphiné, Paris-Tours and the Paris Marathon from 2018 to 2023.

The Nanterre Court has issued an interim ruling that ASO must continue to perform the terms of its contract and fined the organisation €10,000 for every day that it refused to give BeIN the necessary satellite feeds.

BeIN noted that ASO was represented in the case by French law firm De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés, which had earlier represented satellite operator Arabsat in defending itself against accusations that it was the home to pirate broadcaster BeoutQ, which has engaged in a massive piracy operation against BeIN Media for the last few years.

Caroline Guenneteau, Head of Legal of beIN Sports France said: “We are pleased that the rule of lawhas prevailed and that commercial contracts cannot be torn up by undue interference. This series of events gives an indication of the Saudis’ new strategy while its BeoutQ transmissions remain down over satellite;namely, to illegally force its way into sports broadcasting through undue political and commercial influence. However, this French ruling sends a clear message that the pressuring of commercial partners to illegally break contracts will not be tolerated. BeIN will relentlessly defend its commercial interests using the full force of the law.”