Sports broadcaster beIN Sports, which holds the exclusive rights to broadcast the FIFA World Cup in the GCC region, has pulled its channels off-air in the UAE, telecoms operator du confirmed on Saturday.
The reason for the sudden pullout by the Qatar-based broadcaster was not clear.
On a statement on its website, du said that it was “temporarily unable to show beIN Sports channels and packages”.
“We are working with our partner to restore broadcasting beIN Sports channels,” it added.
The operator said it “regretted the inconvenience” and said it will provide an update on the situation as soon as “details are available”.
Du also confirmed that there will be no charges for the period beIN Sports channels are not available.
“Please note, we have temporarily stopped new subscriptions of beIN Packages… You can watch beIN Sports channels online or subscribe to beIN CONNECT. Please note, we cannot comment on the quality and pricing of third-party products. The service is owned and managed by beIN,” the statement added.
The sudden pullout of beIN Sports comes less than two weeks before the start of the biggest international football tournament, the FIFA World Cup 2018, set to be held in Russia.
The UAE’s other telecoms operator Etisalat confirmed that it was continuing to offer beIN Sports channels.
On Sunday, Etisalat rolled out its FIFA World Cup 2018 package, offering all 64 games for a price of Dhs555 ($151), excluding VAT. Those interested can subscribe to the package via channel 777 on their TV sets.
BeIN Sports was temporarily blocked in the UAE last year, but was later restored in the country.
It is part of the larger Al Jazeera network of channels and holds the exclusive broadcasting rights to a number of major international sporting tournaments including the UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, La Liga, Formula 1 Grand Prix and the NBA, amongst others.
Read more: UAE unblocks Qatari broadcaster beIN Sports