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Wimbledon rights-holder calls for UK government action over beoutQ piracy

The All England Lawn Tennis Club, which is the rights-holder of the Wimbledon tennis grand slam, has become the latest sporting body to call for pressure to be increased on Saudi authorities concerning the actions of pirate channel beoutQ.

The AELTC said it would make the “strongest representations” to the UK government concerning beoutQ offering “widespread availability” of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships for the second consecutive year.

A statement from the AELTC, released Sunday, read: “The exclusive rights of the AELTC’s broadcast partners – including but not limited to beIN Sports, BBC, Canal+, ESPN – have been accessible worldwide through beoutQ’s bespoke IPTV apps, which is not only wholly unlawful, but undermines the commercial value of Wimbledon’s intellectual property all around the world.

“The AELTC will be making the strongest representations to the UK government to put pressure on the Saudi Arabia authorities to immediately close down the beoutQ pirate operation following its ongoing illegal exploitation of world sport.”

The AELTC’s statement was released as this year’s edition of Wimbledon came to a close. It came after the Confédération Africaine de Football said it intends to join other international rights-holders – including Fifa, Uefa and the English Premier League – in legal proceedings targeting beoutQ.

Qatar’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry last week claimed significant progress in the state’s dispute settlement proceedings against Saudi Arabia at the World Trade Organization in relation to the activities of beoutQ.

BeoutQ’s activities in the Middle East and North Africa have damaged Qatar-based pay-television broadcaster beIN Media’s operations, resulting in the company cutting roughly 20 per cent of staff in its home nation.