LONDON (Reuters) – International soccer bodies and some of Europe’s leading leagues issued a joint statement on Tuesday condemning pirate television channel beoutQ and vowing to defend their intellectual property rights.
Soccer bodies are pursuing legal action in Saudi Arabia against “beoutQ” which they say has broadcast content whose exclusive TV rights in the Middle East belong to Qatar-based broadcaster beIN Sport.
It is unclear who owns or operates the channel and Reuters has not been able to contact it for comment.
FIFA, UEFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the world, European and Asian soccer bodies, joined the Premier League, Germany’s Bundesliga and Spain’s La Liga as signatories of Tuesday’s statement.
“The activities of beoutQ are a clear and flagrant breach of our intellectual property rights,” they said.
“beoutQ’s piracy harms not only us, as rights holders, but also our legitimate licensees and, ultimately, the fans of our competitions.”
The soccer bodies said they would work with partners and “relevant authorities” to enforce intellectual property rights.
The statement did not mention individual countries or regions.
beoutQ emerged in 2017 after Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar which it accused of supporting terrorism, something Doha denies.
The channel is widely available in Saudi Arabia. But Riyadh says it is not based there and authorities are committed to fighting piracy.
The AFC said on Jan. 9 that it was taking legal action in Saudi Arabia against beoutQ for illegal broadcasts of the Asian Cup, the region’s biggest soccer tournament which is being played in the United Arab Emirates.
The Premier League said last week it had appointed legal counsel to take action in Saudi Arabia against beoutQ.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)