Bengaluru, February 20: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has brought on board, experts in the field to step up its fight against Intellectual Property (IP) theft by pirate channel beoutQ that illegally broadcast last month's AFC Asian Cup.
A number of football associations, including the game's global governing body -- FIFA ---, Europes' governing council -- UEFA -- and Premier League had pursued legal action in Saudi Arabia against beoutQ last month, which they say broadcast content whose exclusive TV rights in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region belong to Qatar-based broadcaster beIN Sport, which is headed by Ligue 1 champions owner Nasser Al Khelaifi.
All the football governing bodies had also strongly condemned the channel for its alleged piracy content.
"In recent months, the AFC has acted as part of a coalition against the pirate broadcasters 'beoutQ' and against those who attempted to 'ambush' marketing rights at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 held last month," the AFC said on their website.
"Now to further strengthen the AFC's stance against IP theft, the Confederation is to engage market leaders in this field with a view to further combating the escalating risk," the AFC statement adde.
BeoutQ emerged in 2017 after Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar which it accused of supporting terrorism, something Doha denies vehemently.
In July, 2018, even FIFA had contemplated legal action against the channel for illegaly braodcasting the World Cup in Russia.
AFC's General Secretary Windsor John said this was the "logical next step".
"The AFC values its broadcast and commercial partners and wishes to do everything that it can to protect their rights," John said.
"The question of IP theft runs much wider than just MENA. We're beginning the process of obtaining expert advice on what measures we can take to ensure we remain as leaders in this area."
(With inputs from Agencies)