Staging the Italian Super Cup between Juventus and Lazio in Saudi Arabia could cost the Lega Serie A €450m, as beIN Sports warn they are “actively considering” scrapping TV rights.

The decision to have Saudi Arabia host the one-off match between the 2018-19 Scudetto and Coppa Italia winners already caused controversy last year because of their human rights record and the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Staging the Italian Super Cup between Juventus and Lazio in Saudi Arabia could cost the Lega Serie A €450m, as beIN Sports warn they are “actively considering” scrapping TV rights.

The decision to have Saudi Arabia host the one-off match between the 2018-19 Scudetto and Coppa Italia winners already caused controversy last year because of their human rights record and the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Now Anthony Harwood of Gulf Times reports it could prove very costly indeed, because Serie A’s overseas TV rights to Qatari channel beIN Sports could be cancelled.

The reason is that beIN Sports are protesting against anyone who has games hosted in Saudi Arabia, because of $1bn legal action against beoutQ, a channel that illegally transmits their footage from Riyadh.

It would be a huge blow for Serie A, because beIN Sports has the TV rights for France, North America, the Middle East, Asia, Spain and Turkey.

That deal earns the Lega Serie A €450m, compared to the €20m they receive from Saudi Arabia to host three Supercoppa matches in five years.

“beIN is actively reconsidering its entire commercial relationship with Serie A following the league's decision to go ahead with its Super Cup match next month in Saudi Arabia, the country responsible for the mass theft of the league’s premium sports rights for over two years,” a spokesman told Gulf Times.

“It is astonishing that the league has decided to press ahead despite all the evidence of the damage that has been done to the league's business by beoutQ, Saudi’s pirate operation.

“It is remarkable what Serie A is seemingly prepared to jeopardise – not only all the financial revenues from one of its biggest broadcaster partners, but also the exposure beIN gives to the league in markets all around the world, from Europe to Asia and all across the Middle East & North Africa.

“Serie A’s leadership is putting at risk all of this, in favour of making a quick buck from the very entity that has been stealing its rights for two years.”

However, Lega Serie A chief Luigi de Siervo told Bloomberg he “found a multi-year agreement to play the next Italian Super Cup finals in Saudi Arabia when elected in February 2019.”

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