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ECB chief vows to tackle pirate websites

Giles Clarke, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, said pirate websites that stream matches illegally represent the “biggest danger” facing the sport.

Clarke told the Test Match Special programme on BBC Radio that the ECB had worked alongside its broadcasters to close down 700 websites during last year’s Test series between England and India.

“[Illegal streaming] is the biggest danger to cricket, because they [the websites] take money out of the game without commercial benefit to us,” Clarke said. “They are being used by the bookmakers as well. The problem of pirate site streaming is very big for sport.”

Clarke added that it was essential to take action to close down such websites in order to protect the governing body’s broadcast agreements.

“We all have to be very vigilant,” he added. “There are a huge number of pirate websites streaming cricket on the internet taken from television broadcasts. It’s an extremely complex procedure, but it can be done and it has to be done.”

The Guardian reports that the governing body is close to agreeing a new broadcast deal with UK pay-television broadcaster BSkyB. Sky’s existing deal with the ECB is reported to be worth £300 million (€363 million/$461 million) over four years, from 2010 to 2013.