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Premier League could be called to UK parliament to provide Saudi piracy evidence

Getty ImagesA British MP has called for a parliamentary evidence session into the theft of sports content by a pirate network with links to Saudi Arabia, at a time when the country’s sovereign wealth fund is seeking to buy English top-flight club Newcastle. Giles Watling, a member of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee, has called on his group to hold an oral evidence session into the activities of the BeoutQ network, with representatives from the Premier League proposed as witnesses. Premier League wrote to US government in February over Saudi piracy concernsBeoutQ was involved in illegally broadcasting sports events via streaming and satellite, including Premier League soccer, before switching off its satellite in August last year. The BeoutQ set-top boxes still allow content to be accessed illegally however, via internet protocol television (IPTV) apps. Watling’s call comes at a time when Newcastle are the subject of a UK£300 million (US$365 million) takeover bid, which, if successful, would result in Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund (PIF) holding an 80 per cent stake. The final hurdle for the deal to overcome is the league’s owners and directors test.

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