AFC builds IP expertise to protect its competitions and commercial rights

February 19 – The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is drafting in a team of experts to fight against Intellectual Property (IP) theft in the wake of the row over pirate channel beoutQ which illegally broadcast last month’s Asian Cup played in the United Arab Emirates.

Asian Cup rights were held by Qatar-based regional broadcaster BeIN Sports but the championship had every match stolen and rebroadcast on the pirate station.

“In recent months, the AFC has acted as part of a coalition against the pirate broadcasters ‘beoutQ’ and against those who attempted to ‘ambush’ marketing rights at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 held last month,” the AFC said in a statement.

“Now to further strengthen the AFC’s stance against IP theft, the Confederation is to engage market leaders in this field with a view to further combating the escalating risk.”

BeoutQ emerged in 2017 after Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar which it accused of supporting terrorism.

AFC’s general secretary Dato’ Windsor John said bringing in experts to help was the “logical next step”.

“The AFC values its broadcast and commercial partners and wishes to do everything that it can to protect their rights,” John said.

“The question of IP theft runs much wider than just MENA (Middle East and North Africa region) and the AFC prides itself on best practices and good governance. We’re beginning the process of obtaining expert advice on what measures we can take to ensure we remain as leaders in this area.”

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