beIN subscribers won’t be charged for blocked channel

Etisalat confirms news but football fans rue lack of options

16:23 July 6, 2017

Dubai: Etisalat confirmed on Thursday it will not charge its Home eLife subscribers for the suspended Qatari-owned sports network beIN amid an ongoing dispute over regional security between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours.

The beIN channel, alongside Al Jazeera, was blocked on June 6 in the UAE and both telecom providers, Etisalat and du, have suspended the service with no indication if, or when, it will resume.

In a statement, Etisalat said, “We would like to advise our Home eLife Services customers that starting June 5, the beIN package has been suspended until further notice.

“Customers will not be charged for the beIN Sports package during the period of suspension.”

That confirmation may ease concerns of Twitter users such as @madhavdar who noted earlier: “So beIN sports has gone off air as of this evening. I hope u will not be charging for the channels for getting a replacement in place?”

Another Twitter user, @Myr_Naj, said: “I’m officially paying for nothing (sports package on eLife). No beIN, no subscription. I would like a refund.”

At present, the beIN Sports channels show the message: “This channel is currently unavailable”, written across a blue screen.

The blue screen is bad news for diehard football fans, most notably UK and European expatriates living in the UAE who told Gulf News on Thursday that they have lost virtually all football coverage, save international World Cup qualifier matches being broadcast on Abu Dhabi Sports.

One UK footballer and expatriate in Dubai lamented the loss of Premier League, Champions League and a host of other major football matches.

The beIN channel holds telecast rights of most top-drawer football league and tourneys in the GCC region and with the channel now off the air, football fans in the UAE are out of luck.

“Many of us are contemplating life without football,” he said, noting many of his fellow football fans must have their football coverage on a daily basis and are having a hard time.