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UEFA seeking anti-piracy service providers

UEFA are looking to protect its sporting property against illegal broadcasters, in the wake of the BeoutQ saga.

Europe's football governing body are willing to work with intellectual property rights management firms to enable them to stop fraudsters from showcasing some of the biggest cup competitions in world football.

UEFA released a statement saying that it "takes the protection of its intellectual property rights, as well as the interests of its media partners, very seriously." With applications open until September 4, the successful applicant may be able to provide additional services to support UEFA’s current monitoring and enforcement procedures.

The current biggest culprit in sport, BeoutQ have been backed by the Saudi Arabian government, according to a report released by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This has long been a major concern among rights holders, causing them to readdress their current stance on piracy.

In response to the report, UEFA said, "What is clear is that BeoutQ’s broadcasts constitute piracy of UEFA’s matches and as such, are illegal.

"BeoutQ was hosted on frequencies transmitted by Arabsat and was promoted and carried out by individuals and entities subject to Saudi Arabia’s territorial jurisdiction.

“Those seeking to follow BeoutQ’s example should be in no doubt that UEFA will go to great lengths to protect its property and support its partners, whose investment in football helps it to remain the world’s most popular sport from grassroots to elite level. Piracy not only threatens that investment but also the existence of professional sport as we know it.

"Today’s ruling shows clearly that no-one involved in audio-visual piracy should consider themselves above the rule of law."

Concerns surrounding piracy have engulfed the current Newcastle takeover deal financed by the Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund (PIF). The deal is yet to be finalised, currently paused by the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test. However, controversy surrounds the takeover following the WTO report and Saudi banning broadcaster BeIN Sports from operating in the area.

In addition, the Premier League approached the US Trade Representation, in February, insisting that Saudi Arabia should remain on their watch list, claiming the country ‘‘remained a centre for piracy."

Author: James Parker