3 May 2023CopyrightMuireann Bolger

MEPs back UEFA, Sky in call for piracy curbs

Sports broadcasters urge the European Commission to tackle pirate operators such as IPTV | Leaked recommendation draws criticism over projected timeframe for review ahead of any potential legislation.

The  European Commission (EC) is facing calls to tighten safeguards against the piracy of live sports content, after two-dozen members of the European parliament (MEPs) issued a letter demanding more action.

The  letter, sent on April 28 and addressed to EC President Ursula von der Leyen, comes in the wake of a leaked draft of the Commission’s recommendation for addressing this issue.

It also follows an earlier March letter, in which the MEPs asked the EC to “act decisively, efficiently and with the utmost priority against those who drain our creative economies”.

The  Association of Commercial Television and Video on Demand Services in Europe published the latest letter—in a development first  reported by the blog  TorrentFreak.


The issue came to the fore in October 2002 when organisations including  UEFA, the  Premier League,  beIN Sports,  LaLiga,  Serie A,  Sky, and  BT Sport urged the Commission to combat pirate operators such as IPTV.

According to these broadcasters, such illicit streaming websites threaten their rights by offering discounted or free access to live sports events.

In response to these concerns, the EC pledged to devise a recommendation for tackling privacy to be released this month (May 2023).

But the draft, leaked in April, shows that the Commission had forecast a three-year review period before any potential legislation could come into force.

‘Malicious actors’

In the letter, the MEPs outlined their disappointment regarding the length of this projected review period.“Such a lengthy timeframe will only benefit malicious actors to the detriment of our European creative and sports industries,” they argued.

The politicians also insisted that any official recommendation should contain a clause, so that if it “fails to achieve the desired effects in a timely manner, the Commission shall further explore other avenues of action, including proposing legislation”.

Further, the MEPs argued that if the Commission fails to take action on this matter, it would “demonstrate a lack of resolve in defending the rule of law in the European Union, and delivering on the Commission’s commitment to ensure that what is illegal offline is illegal online”.

The MEPs went on to insist that 12 months would be a more acceptable timeframe for review.

“We strongly encourage the European Commission’s services under your authority to ensure that the final recommendation, to be released in early May, includes a review period that is not longer than one year from publication,” concluded the letter.

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

15 March 2021   A group of three men responsible for running illegal sports streaming sites have been ordered to pay €7 million in damages to Canal+, beIN Sports and RMC Sports by the Rennes Criminal Court.
24 April 2020   Qatari broadcaster beIN Media wants the Premier League to block the mooted takeover of Newcastle United by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, citing piracy concerns.