Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered all the Kingdom’s football league matches be free-to-air, stressing that it is people’s right to watch the league at no cost.
Turki Al-Asheikh, head of the General Sports Authority and adviser at the Royal Court, said the crown prince has instructed the authority not to encrypt matches and deprive Saudis of watching their favorite teams playing.
“The crown prince directed that citizens should (be able to) watch the league for free and we are now looking for a mechanism that benefits all parties concerned: Sports clubs and carrier/broadcasters without affecting the people,” Al-Asheikh said in an interview on “Action Ya Dawry,” sports show.
“So the matches will be free. There may be some encryption for broadcasting the highest quality, exclusive programs, specific analysis studios and software services to benefit the sports club and the carrier/broadcaster, as well as the viewer who will benefit from these additional services,” he added.
Remarking on the crown prince’s involvement in the order, Al-Asheikh said: “Such a decision wouldn’t have been taken without his support.”
The decision came after several media outlets reported that the channels owning the league’s rights had decided to encrypt the league from the beginning of the next sports season.
The Saudi professional league had officially requested FIFA encode the league matches from August 2018 when the season starts.
The league made a joint request at its meeting requesting that the encryption of league matches was accelerated to help save clubs financially.
Meanwhile sport fans have inevitably reacted positively to the ruling, praising the Crown Prince.