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Top rights-holders unable to retain Saudi legal counsel in fight against beoutQ

A seven-strong group of rights-holders have been unable to retain legal counsel in Saudi Arabia, having tried to launch legal action against pirate broadcaster beoutQ in the Saudi courts.

The collection of rights-holders include: Fifa, football’s world governing body; the Asian Football Confederation; England’s Premier League; Spain’s LaLiga; Germany’s Bundesliga; Uefa, European football’s governing body; and Italy’s Serie A.

In a joint statement, the consortium says: “Over the past 15 months, we spoke to nine law firms in KSA, each of which either simply refused to act on our behalf or initially accepted the instruction, only later to recuse themselves.”

“As copyright holders we have reached the conclusion, regrettably, that it is now not possible to retain legal counsel in KSA which is willing or able to act on our behalf in filing a copyright complaint against beoutQ. We feel we have now exhausted all reasonable options for pursuing a formal copyright claim in KSA and see no alternative but to pursue beoutQ and a solution to this very serious problem of piracy by other means.”

The legal challenge was first reported in March, however doubts over the possibility were widespread in the industry when canvassed by SportBusiness Media.

BeIN has been calling for rights-holder support for the last 18 months in its battle against beoutQ. It has recently had to cut 20 per cent of its staff in Qatar, thought to be related to the impact of the pirate service.

Despite being unable to launch a legal challenge in Saudi Arabia, the rights-holders have said they are still “committed, collectively and individually, to working with all relevant authorities to combat the beoutQ piracy”.