Saudis said refusing to grant Israel soccer broadcast rights with current government

Al Nassr's Cristiano Ronaldo and teammates celebrate with the trophy of the Arab Club Championship Cup at King Fahd Stadium in Taif, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, August 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Samah Zidan)
Al Nassr's Cristiano Ronaldo and teammates celebrate with the trophy of the Arab Club Championship Cup at King Fahd Stadium in Taif, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, August 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Samah Zidan)

Saudi Arabia is refusing to grant Israeli TV the rights to broadcast its soccer league as long as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains in power, Channel 12 reports.

Following a massive spending spree, the Saudi league now boasts some of the world’s top stars like Ronaldo and Neymar.

But repeated Israeli requests to acquire the broadcast rights have been rebuffed, the report says.

“We rule out the possibility of broadcasting the Saudi League in Israel,” Channel 12 quotes a source close to the monarch as saying. “We will allow sale to Iran and North Korea, and not to any Israeli body. They have already submitted a request more than once and we refused, even to those who broadcast in Arabic we refused.”

The source says the reason for the refusal is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his hardline government.

“When Netanyahu is gone, we will even allow Israeli Jews and Arabs to play in Saudi Arabia, but with an extreme Netanyahu government, no and no,” the source says.

The comments come despite US efforts to broker a normalization agreement between Israel and the Saudis.

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