(Reuters) - The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is roping in experts to step up its fight against Intellectual Property (IP) theft by pirate channel beoutQ that illegally broadcast last month's Asian Cup, the confederation said on Tuesday.
A number of soccer bodies, including FIFA and UEFA, pursued legal action in Saudi Arabia against beoutQ last month, which they say broadcast content whose exclusive TV rights in the Middle East belong to Qatar-based broadcaster beIN Sport.
"In recent months, the AFC has acted as part of a coalition against the pirate broadcasters 'beoutQ' and against those who attempted to 'ambush' marketing rights at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 held last month," the AFC said on their website http://www.the-afc.com/media/afc-steps-up-fight-against-intellectual-property-theft.
"Now to further strengthen the AFC's stance against IP theft, the Confederation is to engage market leaders in this field with a view to further combating the escalating risk."
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.
AFC's general secretary Dato' Windsor John said this was the "logical next step".
"The AFC values its broadcast and commercial partners and wishes to do everything that it can to protect their rights," John said.
"The question of IP theft runs much wider than just MENA (Middle East and North Africa region). We're beginning the process of obtaining expert advice on what measures we can take to ensure we remain as leaders in this area."
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)