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UEFA welcomes Italy anti-piracy operation

June 18, 2021

By Colin Mann

European football’s governing body UEFA, organiser and owner of the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament, has welcomed the anti-piracy operation in Italy conducted by the Guardia di Finanza, and coordinated by the Naples Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The operation, which lasted over a week, has seen more than 600 illegal platforms blocked which were unlawfully making available UEFA Euro 2020 matches. The Guardia di Finanza is primarily responsible for dealing with financial crime and smuggling in Italy. Those running the pirate services now risk imprisonment from six months to three years and a fine of up to €15,493; while end users will automatically receive a significant administrative fine for an amount of up to €1,032.

“UEFA welcomes and supports the ‘Euro Strike 2020’ anti-piracy operation which has been undertaken by the Guardia di Finanza and coordinated by the Naples Public Prosecutor’s Office. We would like to thank everyone involved for their efforts in fighting audiovisual piracy,” said a UEFA spokesperson.

Financial revenue generated from media rights sales is vital for the wellbeing of football, both professional and amateur, and in particular football development and grassroots investment throughout Europe. Therefore, it is important to protect our broadcasters for the good of the game including by bringing actions such as this against pirates.”

Since the UEFA Euro tournament staged in 2004, UEFA has made €2.6 billion available to its member associations through its HatTrick programme, with the vast majority of funding coming from the sale of media rights.

“This is an interesting development in disrupting illegal activity and one that has our full support,” commented Kieron Sharp, CEO of UK pro-copyright body FACT. “With such great demand for Euro 2020, blocking access to illegal streams sends a really clear message to fans that this is not a grey area. This is taken very seriously by law enforcement and the fines issued will be a direct and alarming wake up call for people using illegitimate content. Be in no doubt, this is serious crime which puts money into the pockets of criminals and harms the legitimate economy. FACT will continue to monitor channels used to advertise, market, sell and distribute apps, devices and streams, in order to take action against suppliers and operators.”

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