Facebook bought the television rights for the 2019-2022 Copa Libertadores on Friday, adding South America’s premier club competition to a growing list of football tournaments in their broadcast portfolio.The social media network bought exclusive rights to transmit Thursday night games in South America’s equivalent of the UEFA Champions League, as well as shared rights to broadcast games played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) said.Thursday’s agreement covers all CONMEBOL’s 10 member nations, with the other days including games broadcast in Hispanic nations but not South America’s single largest market, Portuguese-speaking Brazil.Under the deal, 46 matches a year – 27 of them exclusively – will be broadcast online in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.“We are very enthusiastic that Facebook Watch has become the new home for Conmebol Libertadores games for the next four years,” Dan Reed, the company’s vice-president for sports, said in a statement released by CONMEBOL. “We want to take this experience to the biggest audience possible.”The deal comes a year after Facebook signed a deal with Fox Sports to livestream Champions League matches during the 2017-18 season and just weeks after it signed similar deals to show La Liga matches on the Indian sub-continent and Champions League games in Spanish-speaking Latin America.The company at the time denied the deals signalled a more energetic policy towards snapping up sporting rights worldwide.
A group of sports bodies and broadcasters including the US National Basketball Association, US Tennis Association and Sky has called for the United States to add Saudi Arabia to its “priority watch list” over alleged TV piracy, filings show.The filings, made this week with the office of the United States Trade Representative, come as a growing number of global sports and television bodies look to shut down beoutQ, a TV station they claim is based in Saudi Arabia and broadcasting sports and entertainment they hold exclusive rights for.BeoutQ emerged in 2017 after Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies launched a diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar, which it accused of supporting terrorism, which Doha denies, saying the boycott seeks to curtail its sovereignty.The channel is widely available in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh, however, says beoutQ it is not based in the country and that Saudi authorities are committed to fighting piracy.While initially targeting lucrative sports content held by Qatar’s beIN Sports such as Premier League soccer, some broadcasters say the network has since expanded to include entertainment and is now reaching users in Europe, undercutting the value of their television rights.In its filing, Comcast Corp’s Sky said “the service has rapidly grown and we understand that beoutQ set-top boxes are now sold across the MENA region and the beoutQ channels are now also available in Europe.”MENA refers to the Middle East and North Africa.“In addition, the beoutQ devices provide direct access to applications offering unauthorized access to many thousands of premium television channels, including channels owned by Sky Group companies across Europe, and carrying content in which Sky has invested billions of Euros,” it said.It is unclear who owns or operates beoutQ and Reuters has not been able to contact it for comment.The “Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Rights” is an annual report in which the United States highlights the countries it considers the worst offenders of intellectual property rights.A spokesman for the US Trade Representative declined to comment.Other organisations that filed complaints include Canal+, beIN Media Group and MIRAMAX – a sports coalition that includes Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the US Chamber of Commerce.The Saudi government media office did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the filings.Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic, trade and transport ties with Qatar in June 2017. The row has since defied mediation efforts by Kuwait and the United States, which sees Gulf unity as essential to containing Iran.The Trump administration announced its 2018 “priority watch list” last April, and added Saudi Arabia to its less serious “watch list” over similar concerns.
Chelsea will fight until the last minute of every match to secure a top four place in the Premier League, manager Maurizio Sarri has said.Chelsea are sixth on 56 points, two behind fourth-placed Manchester United and one behind Arsenal, who play each other on Sunday. Sarri’s side have played a game less than their top-four rivals.“We will be fighting for the top four until the last minute of the last match. Every match will be important in our future,” Sarri told reporters ahead of Sunday’s league match against Wolverhampton Wanderers.“We have two big opportunities, this match (against Wolves), and when we play the match (in hand) against Brighton.”Chelsea have beaten Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham in the league, as well as Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League, since their shootout defeat to Manchester City in the League Cup final.“In five matches we conceded only one goal. Now we are improving in consistency, we are improving in defensive solidity, but we have to be careful,” Sarri added.“In the past we had a long period of results, and then suddenly two weeks of disaster.”Sunday’s match is Chelsea‘s ninth in 28 days and Sarri said their participation in the Europa League had forced him to rotate his squad to avoid any potential burnout.“In this moment it’s very difficult to arrive to every match with the same level of determination, mentally and physically at 100 percent. But for the next match we can change six or seven players,” Sarri said.
England winger Karen Carney hopes to bow out with a win at the women’s World Cup after coach Phil Neville said on Friday she would feature in the third-place playoff against Sweden.The Chelsea player, who made her England debut in 2005, announced earlier she was retiring from the game after Saturday’s match in Nice having appeared for the national team on 143 occasions, scoring 32 goals.Neville paid tribute to the 31-year-old and said she would have a part to play against the Swedes, when the Lionesses are bidding for a second successive third place finish.“We give players the opportunity to go and work on individual development plans early, ahead of when training sessions start, and there was only one player who did that yesterday. That player was Karen Carney,” Neville told a news conference.“That was a player who was two days away from kicking her last ball, was still there ahead of everyone else. That is something you’re born with, and that’s the type of player she is. 143 caps for England, and 144 by some time tomorrow.”Carney has made two substitute appearances for England on their route to the semi-finals in France where they were defeated by holders the United States 2-1.Carney, who also played for the Britain’s Olympic team at the London Games in 2012 and won the FA Cup with Birmingham City the same year, said she had pondered retirement for two years.However, it was earlier this year, after England triumphed in the SheBelieves Cup, that she finalised her plans, realising her body was unable to cope with the demands of the game.“You’ve seen the development of the game, and how fast it’s moving, it’s a credit to everybody,” she said, visibly emotional as she reflected on her career. “My mind would want to continue until I’m 100 but your body tells you enough’s enough.”Neville said that he would give opportunities to other players who have not featured as much against Sweden, who beat England 2-0 in their last meeting in a friendly last November.Sweden were beaten in the last four by The Netherlands who face the United States in the final on Sunday in Lyon.“We do have certain positions we will want to freshen up in. But the players are under no illusions that this game is one we want to win. We want to go home with something to show for the hard work that we’ve put in,” Neville said.“Six wins and one defeat sounds better than five wins and two defeats, so I want to be laying on a sun-bed next week happy that we finished the tournament well.”