Shape-shifting: Serie A boss slams BeoutQ piracy putting into question Saudi SuperCup deal

June 14 – The CEO of Italy’s Serie A has issued a powerful endorsement of beIN Sports in its battle against the copyright theft of Saudi Arabian-based BeoutQ that has been stealing the Qatari broadcasters’ live broadcasts and retransmitting on its own networks.

Calling the battle against the piracy “fundamental”, Luigi De Siervo, CEO of Lega Serie A, said the league has opened legal action against BeoutQ and will be lobbying the Italian government for support in the copyright battle.

“Serie A is next to belN SPORTS against BeoutQ in the fight against piracy. For Serie A this is a fundamental area, from which about a third of international TV rights arrive. We have already taken legal action, we will start shortly to make a strong campaign towards our Government and other Governments to bring the BeoutQ phenomenon to the total reduction,” said De Servio.

His comments mark what looks like a change in league policy following the controversial hosting of Italy’s SuperCoppa – the annual play-off between the winners of Serie A and the Italian Cup – in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in January.

That deal was negotiated by the Italian federation (FIGC) and was widely criticised at the time throughout the football rights world as destabilising the international rights market and rewarding state-supported piracy. The January game was the first of a three-season deal providing more than €20 million to Serie A and €3.5 million to participating clubs.

At the time Serie A followed the money even though it potentially jeopardised its far more lucrative rights sale for league matches to beIN Sport. Now it looks like Serie A will pull out of the next two years of the SuperCup arrangement in favour of protecting and supporting its legitimate rights holder for its league matches.

At the time of the SuperCup the CEO of belN Sports Yousef Al-Obaidly, said: “Among all the countries in the world that you could have chosen to host your race, you have chosen the only country that supports the theft even of your contents on an industrial scale. I ask if it is appropriate to proceed with the Super Cup match in Jeddah.”

Now it seems Serie A agrees with him.

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