Uefa seeking anti-piracy service providers in wake of BeoutQ saga

European soccer body issues RFP in growing effort to protect IP rights.

by PA

Uefa seeking anti-piracy service providers in wake of BeoutQ saga

Uefa, European soccer’s governing body, has moved to further protect itself from piracy by signalling its intention to enlist the services of an intellectual property rights management firm.

A tender has been issued by Uefa for companies to assist in its anti-piracy efforts, a process which will run until 4th September.

A statement accompanying the request for proposals said: 'Uefa takes the protection of its intellectual property rights, as well as the interests of its media partners, very seriously.'

The organisation was one of many rights holders affected by the activities of pirate broadcast network BeoutQ, whose operations were facilitated by the Saudi Arabian state according to a report by the World Trade Organisation last month.

Responding to the WTO report, Uefa said in a statement last month: 'What is clear is that BeoutQ’s broadcasts constitute piracy of Uefa’s matches and as such, are illegal.

'BeoutQ was hosted on frequencies transmitted by Arabsat and was promoted and carried out by individuals and entities subject to Saudi Arabia’s territorial jurisdiction.

“Those seeking to follow BeoutQ’s example should be in no doubt that Uefa will go to great lengths to protect its property and support its partners, whose investment in football helps it to remain the world’s most popular sport from grassroots to elite level. Piracy not only threatens that investment but also the existence of professional sport as we know it.

'Today’s ruling shows clearly that no-one involved in audio-visual piracy should consider themselves above the rule of law.'

The issue of piracy also appears to have caused complications for the Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle.

The buyout is still being considered by the Premier League under its owners’ and directors’ test, with the Saudi public investment fund (PIF) taking an 80 per cent stake in the club under the terms of the deal.

In February English soccer's top-flight Premier League wrote to the United States trade representative asking that Saudi Arabia be kept on a watch list because the country 'remained a centre for piracy'.