Wednesday 7 August at 08:35 :
Aug.7 (GMM) A Qatari broadcaster has slammed Formula 1 for contemplating a grand prix in Saudi Arabia.
This week, it emerged that Liberty Media is in talks with the powerful Kingdom for what would be a race on a novel street circuit. One rendering depicts the F1 cars racing underneath a clear-bottomed swimming pool.
The Saudi talks were already controversial given the state's human rights record, but now they are also under fire by Qatar broadcaster BeIN Media Group.
F1 is currently shown on TV in the region by MBC Group, a Saudi broadcaster, but only after BeIN pulled out after claiming its feed was being pirated by a company called BeoutQ.
"For F1 to then reward the perpetrators is a curious move," a spokesman for BeIN told us.
The spokesman explained that other sports bodies, including Fifa, the Premier League, Wimbledon and others, have slammed "Saudi Arabia's rampant theft of sports rights" in the past few weeks.
And yet "Formula 1 continues to turn a blind eye," he added.
"Most sports organisations are trying to do something about this epidemic; Formula 1 is only encouraging it," said the BeIN spokesman.