European football authorities crack down on TV piracy ahead of new season

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By Joseph Macey
European football authorities crack down on TV piracy ahead of new season

The world’s biggest football authorities, including the top divisions across Europe, have increased their efforts to stop the TV piracy of football matches ahead of the new season.

The Italian League, Serie A, launched a campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #StopPiracy and major clubs in the division such as Lazio, Juventus and AC Milan have shown their support via social media.

During the first two days of the new Serie A season, banners with the hashtag #StopPiracy will be exhibited in all stadiums.

The sporting bodies' crackdown on piracy comes 18 months after legal attempts to take down a major Saudia Arabian pirate outfit.

In a statement, UEFA said: “UEFA strongly condemns all unauthorised broadcasting and illegal streaming activity. 

"We are aware that a pirate channel, named BeoutQ based in Saudi Arabia, has illegally distributed the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League throughout the 2017/18 season, including the UEFA Champions League Final in Kyiv on 26 May.

“UEFA considers that illegal piracy of live football, particularly on the scale of that being carried out by BeoutQ poses a significant threat to European football.”

Recently, BeoutQ was heavily criticised by the African Football Federation after 36 African Cup of Nations matches were illegally distributed.

Luigi De Siervo, CEO of Serie A, said: “Piracy is a criminal phenomenon, implemented by people who do not realize the seriousness of what they are doing, continuing so will end up destroying the content creation industry or the cinema, TV, print media, but also and above all football, the quintessential premium product.

“The problem is not just our country, we are fighting a tough battle, along with FIFA, UEFA and the major European Championships, against the Arab platform beoutQ and all the pirated IPTVs. 

"I want and must remain optimistic, so I hope, with everyone's help, that we will be able to reduce the phenomenon of piracy by saving our football.”

In a joint statement by major footballing authorities, UEFA said that nine legal firms had been approached in Saudi Arabia but did not take on the case, which means the organisation would now use other means to stop the outfit.

Journalist • Joseph Macey