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FIFA, UEFA in fresh call for Saudi action on pirate broadcaster

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President of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) Gianni Infantino (Photo by Cyril NDEGEYA / AFP)

FIFA, UEFA and several of the world’s top football leagues on Wednesday renewed calls for the Saudi government to crack down on alleged piracy of television rights by the “beoutQ” network.

FIFA and UEFA were joined by the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, the German Bundesliga, Italy’s Serie A and the Asian Football Confederation to “collectively condemn in the strongest possible terms the ongoing theft of our intellectual property by the pirate broadcaster known as ‘beoutQ'”.

They also called “on the authorities in Saudi Arabia to support us in ending the widespread and flagrant breaches of our intellectual property rights taking place in the country”.

The collective has been working since May 2018 to monitor and compile evidence against beoutQ, whose broadcasts they said were “regularly and on an industrial scale made available on an illegal basis”.

“Following thorough analysis by technical experts of how beoutQ operates from a technical perspective, we are satisfied that beoutQ is operating specifically to target customers in Saudi Arabia and is utilising the facilities of at least one Saudi Arabia-based entity.”

However, the collective has been unable to find a Saudi law firm willing to act on their behalf.

“As copyright holders, we have reached the conclusion, regrettably, that it is now not possible to retain legal counsel in Saudi Arabia which is willing or able to act on our behalf in filing a copyright complaint against beoutQ,” a statement released by FIFA said.

“We feel we have now exhausted all reasonable options for pursuing a formal copyright claim in Saudi Arabia and see no alternative but to pursue beoutQ and a solution to this very serious problem of piracy by other means.”

It added: “Given the scale of beoutQ’s piracy in Saudi Arabia and that the piracy continues unabated, we request that the (Culture and Information) Ministry and the Saudi Government take swift and decisive action against beoutQ.”


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