Manama: Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have banned the import of BeIn Sports receivers and stopped the sale and renewal of subscriptions to the Qatar state-funded sports channels.

In Manama, the Ministry of Information announced the ban early on Tuesday, but said existing subscriptions would not be affected.

In the Saudi capital Riyadh, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media said BeIn sports channels had not obtained the required licence to sell or renew subscriptions.

The commission said, out of its keenness to safeguard the rights of Saudi and foreign subscribers, the current subscriptions would remain, but would not be renewed when they expire.

The Doha-headquartered BeIn media group is the successor of Al Jazeera Sports launched in 2003.

In January 2014, the BeIn media group was incorporated and Al Jazeera Sports channels were rebranded to BeIn Sports.

In November 2015, the group announced it would be expanding from sports-only offerings to air “blockbuster movies, family entertainment, factual and kids’ content.”

The group says it broadcasts 60 channels across five continents, within 43 countries, and in seven different languages. It has more than 55 million pay-TV subscribers.