The Premier League, the top flight of the professional football game in England, has strongly condemned what it describes as “illegal broadcast piracy emanating from Saudi Arabia”. All 20 Premier League matches played during the first two weekends of the season were broadcast illegally on the beoutQ service, which it is alleged steals content from several legitimate Premier League licensees.
The Premier League has seen compelling evidence demonstrating beoutQ is a highly-sophisticated pirate operation which has used the services of satellite provider Arabsat to distribute the illegal content.
Global sports and entertainment broadcaster beIN MEDIA Group is the legitimate rights holder for the Premier League across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The Premier League recently extended the beIN MEDIA Group agreement to exclusively broadcast Premier League football matches in the MENA region for the three seasons through to 2021/22.
The League says that it has appointed lawyers in Saudi Arabia to begin the process of legal action against the parties involved.
A Premier League spokesperson said: “The Premier League has written to the European Commission as part of the Sports Rights Owners Coalition. This is just one of the measures we are taking to address this very serious issue. We operate a significant anti-piracy programme in a range of countries to protect the copyright of the League and our clubs. Like all content creators and rights owners, our business model is predicated on the ability to market and sell protected rights and we will take all available action to support the investment made in the League by our legitimate broadcast partners.”
The French football league has also complained to the European Commission about the piracy problems.
Arabsat has previously denied its involvement, and now directs enquiries to a firm of lawyers in New York.