The world’s leading football bodies have condemned pirate sports broadcaster beoutQ for showing beIN Sports’ content to fans in Saudi Arabia.
FIFA, UEFA and the Asian Football Confederation, together with the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga, signed a joint statement vowing to defend their intellectual property rights.
Qatar-based beIN Sports has exclusive TV rights in the Middle East to many of the organisations’ football matches, but beoutQ has been broadcasting the same content illegally in Saudi Arabia.
In the statement the football bodies “condemn the pirate entity beoutQ, which continues to abuse the operations of rights holders and legitimate broadcasters through its persistent and illegal screening of events for which it has made no effort to secure the rights.”
Matches from the 2019 Asian Cup were shown on beoutQ, with the 2018 World Cup and Premier League among the other competitions affected.
In a separate statement four days earlier, the Premier League reiterated its support for beIN Sports and announced that it has already started the process of bringing legal action against beoutQ in Saudi Arabia.
The Premier League described beoutQ’s operation as “highly organised and sophisticated”. It is still unclear exactly how beoutQ is able to broadcast content from beIN Sports, with Saudi government officials denying any connection to the service.
BeoutQ launched in October 2017, four months after the Saudi-led boycott of Qatar began. Set-top boxes are available to buy in shops and show beoutQ’s 10 channels, which are only available to viewers in Saudi Arabia.
The service has broadcast a string of major sporting events, including the 2018 World Cup, Formula 1 races and tennis tournaments. As well as showing all of beIN’s main content, beoutQ has also broadcast sports from other providers.
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS) August 16, 2018
Despite claims on beoutQ’s website that the service has links to Cuba and Colombia, no evidence has yet been found for this.
BeIN Sports has set up a website, beoutq.tv, to explain and document the piracy in more detail, including information on the content stolen.
The joint statement from the world’s leading football bodies joins similar complaints from other sports organisations such as Formula 1 and the seven governing bodies of world tennis, as well as various media organisations.
The statement continued: “BeoutQ’s piracy harms not only us, as rights holders, but also our legitimate licensees and, ultimately, the fans of our competitions.
“Money raised from the sale of TV rights helps us to support the participants, as well as to develop and grow the sports of which we are guardians from the grassroots up. Piracy kills that investment.”