World soccer governing body FIFA on Sunday said it is exploring each of its legal options as a means to address beoutQ’s unauthorised broadcasts.
"FIFA is aware that unauthorised transmissions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 are being made available across the Mena region, primarily Saudi Arabia, via the pirate broadcaster known as beoutQ," a statement issued by the organisation said.
"beoutQ’s unauthorised transmissions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 are made available by way of Arabsat satellite frequencies. FIFA is therefore seeking the co-operation of Arabsat in addressing the misuse of FIFA’s intellectual property.
"In addition, FIFA continues to explore each of its legal options as a means to address beoutQ’s unauthorised broadcasts. In this regard, FIFA is working with a number of other rights holders whose rights have also been infringed by beoutQ."
The statement from FIFA comes after beIN Media Group announced that all the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 broadcast by beoutQ and Arabsat was stolen from its proprietary content.
This is not the first time that FIFA has pointed the finger at beoutQ, a channel which has been regularly airing copyright content in flagrant violation of international laws.
Last week, the Premier League received a boost after a French court ruled that the Saudi Arabian satellite provider has pirate-broadcast every game so far of the Women’s World Cup to Europe.
A hearing in France found that Riyadh-based Arabsat was illegally transmitting the tournament on the rogue channel, beoutQ.
The Premier League, the Bundesliga, LaLiga and FIFA have all begun joint legal proceedings against beoutQ in Saudi Arabia over piracy, which could damage how much rightsholders pay them in future.
The court actions have so far got nowhere, but it’s hoped the ruling by the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris will pile pressure on the Saudis to stop the theft.
beoutQ is able to steal content from a Qatari channel, which owns the rights to the Women’s World Cup across the Middle East, and broadcast it to Europe.
Doha-based beIN Sports has said it may re-evaluate how much it pays organisations like the Premier League for exclusive rights to its programme if games can be seen widely for free.
Yousef al-Obaidly, CEO of beIN Media Group, said: "The latest legal ruling in France shows that even if we are illegally denied access to justice in Saudi Arabia, we will use every means possible to hold beoutQ and Arabsat to account for their daily theft of rights holders’ intellectual property.
"But we are not fighting this battle alone – the weight of the international community is now coming to bear firmly on Saudi Arabia to end its safe haven for piracy, which is destroying not only the economic model of the global sports and entertainment industry, but also the livelihoods of content creators all around the world."
Besides the Women’s World Cup in France, beoutQ has also pirated the men’s tournament in Russia last year, the UEFA Champions League, two seasons of the Premier League, La Liga and Formula One.
Earlier this week, the Italian league, Serie A, announced it had taken legal action against beoutQ over piracy, a move which has thrown into doubt the Saudi hosting of the next Supercoppa in Jeddah.
The French ruling follows two years of denials by Arabsat that it was behind the piracy, despite evidence from digital security and technology companies that this was the case.