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Saudi authorities boot Qatar's beIN sports reporter from World Cup qualifier in Jeddah Open in fullscreen

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Saudi authorities boot Qatar's beIN sports reporter from World Cup qualifier in Jeddah

Saudi Arabia won the game, securing its place in next summer's World Cup [BeIN]

Date of publication: 6 September, 2017

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A reporter for Qatar's beIN sports was expelled from a stadium in Saudi Arabia as he attempted to cover a football match, in the latest move against the channel.

A reporter for Qatar's beIN sports network was expelled on Tuesday from a stadium in Saudi Arabia as he attempted to cover a football match, in the latest move against the channel.

Hasan al-Hashimi was booted from Jeddah's al-Jawhara stadium during the World Cup qualifier match between Saudi Arabia and Japan, amid an ongoing blockade of Qatar by a Saudi-led bloc of Arab states.

"The organisers initially allowed us to film the warm-up, the pregame press conference and interviews with players but they took away our beIN Sports logo," Hashimi said.

"I was shocked when they then kicked us off the pitch and didn't even allow us to sit in the stands to watch the match with the fans," the Omani journalist said, adding that authorities failed to return some of their camera equipment.

"We had come to celebrate with our Saudi brothers and watch them try to qualify for the World Cup. Saudi Arabia represents all Arabs and the Gulf in particular," he added.

The Doha-based broadcaster has called on the Asian Football Confederation to take punitive action against the Saudi Football Federation for expelling Hashimi from the game, which beIN had the exclusive rights to cover.

Saudi Arabia won the game, securing its place in next summer's World Cup in Russia with a 1-0 win.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar and imposed a land, air and sea blockade against the emirate.

The Saudi-led bloc issued a 13-point ultimatum to Qatar, including shutting down the Al Jazeera media network.

beIN, which has the rights to broadcast the Asian World Cup qualifiers and the hugely popular European football leagues, is a subsidiary of Al Jazeera.

The blockade prompted broadcast carriers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia to block beIN broadcasts.

On July 22, however, UAE carriers restored their broadcast and contractual relationship with beIN before the start of major tournaments in European countries.

On Tuesday, the channel decided to broadcast for free the pivotal match between Syria and Iran - which saw Damascus keep alive its hopes of qualifying for the World Cup for the first time.

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