BeIN sports channels go off-air in UAE

The decision was made only weeks ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2018.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, June 3, 2018

One of UAE's two telecom providers du has temporarily taken off beIN sports channels and packages off air. Sports fans in the UAE expressed their frustration over this decision as the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia is only two weeks away (June 14).

It was made unavailable on fellow telecom provider Etisalat has well, however, users have confirmed it was restored at 1.20 pm on Saturday for customers of Elife Sports.

According to a statement on du's website, the provider has said they are temporarily unable to show beIN Sports channels and packages. It said, 'We are working with our partner to restore broadcasting beIN Sports channels.' Moreover, customers of the network will not be charged for the period the channels are not available.

beIN Sports is a global network of sports channels owned and operated by beIN Media Group, a spinoff of Al Jazeera Media Network. A du spokesperson refused to provide further details on the matter and said information about a sports package broadcasting the World Cup will be revealed in some days.

A spokesperson for Etisalat also explained that there is still no confirmation on which premium packages will offer the World Cup, or how much they will cost.

Du has however recommended to its customers that they can watch beIN Sports channels online or subscribe to beIN CONNECT. The statement carried an additional disclaimer which said, 'Please note, we cannot comment on the quality and pricing of third-party products. The service is owned and managed by beIN. You may visit their website for further details.'

Football fans have taken to social media to express their annoyance over the channel being suddenly pulled down, especially this close to the World Cup in Russia.

One user @DubaiNameShame said, 'Dear @dutweets Now that @beINSPORTS_MENA has stopped broadcasting through Du, what will happen to the subscription I pay for? Do I get a lowered rate?'

Another user @fozzydubai also tweeted at du saying, 'Can you please let subscribers know why and how we will be compensated for services we have paid for not being provided?'

@Dubaisteaklover said, 'I do hope that you have suspended payments for Bein sports whilst it isn't provided? Not fair to charge people for a service that isn't functioning.'