Luigi Di Siervo, the chief executive of Lega Serie A, the organising body of Italy’s top football division, has issued a statement speaking out against Saudi Arabia-based pirate broadcaster beoutQ.
In 2018 Lega Serie A signed a deal to play three Super Cup matches over the next five years in the Saudi city, the first of which came in January this year. At the time of that fixture Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports, a media rights partner of Serie A, called on Di Siervo to reconsider hosting the game there, but the appeals appeared to have fallen on deaf ears.
Di Siervo has now issued a statement declaring that Serie A “stands next to BeIN Sports against beoutQ in the fight against piracy,” adding that the Middle East and North Africa region, where beoutQ operates, is a “fundamental area” for Serie A.
“About a third of our international TV rights arrive [from the Middle East]”, Siervo added. “We have already taken legal action, we will start shortly to make a strong campaign towards our government and other governments in order to bring an end to the beoutQ phenomenon.”
beoutQ began broadcasting in Saudi Arabia in 2017, after the kingdom severed all diplomatic and commercial relations with Qatar, leading BeIN Sports to cease operations in the country. Pirated transmissions of BeIN content, under the name beoutQ, began broadcasting shortly afterwards.
It is unclear whether Serie A joining the coalition of leagues fighting beoutQ could have an effect on the Super Cup deal. Italian media has reported that the statement puts the arrangement at risk.
The likes of Fifa, the Bundesliga, the Premier League and LaLiga have already commenced joint legal proceedings in Saudi Arabia against beoutQ.