Football fans admit to watching matches on illegal internet streams

More than a third of Premier League football fans watch live matches on illegal internet streams once a month
More than a third of Premier League football fans watch live matches on illegal internet streams once a month
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More than a third of Premier League football fans watch live matches on illegal internet streams once a month, according to a survey.

More than a third of Premier League football fans watch live matches on illegal internet streams once a month, according to a survey.

The poll by BBC Radio 5 live found that nearly half of the 1,000 fans questioned online had streamed matches illegally at least once through a service other than Sky or BT Sport, which hold the rights to broadcast games live in the UK.

One in five claimed to stream games at least once a week, a quarter regularly use set-top boxes such as a Kodi device and a third said they did not know unofficial streams were illegal.

Fans told the survey they watched unofficial streams either because they are watching a one set up by a family member or friend, the stream is good quality or the subscription packages are not good value for money.

Sky and BT Sport paid a combined £5.14 billion to show Premier League games in the UK in a deal which still has two years to run.

Kieron Sharp, director general of the Federation against Copyright Theft (Fact), said a ruling in April by the European Court of Justice made the law on streaming paid-for content clear.

He told the broadcaster: "People need to be aware that this is no longer a grey area, in fact it is very black and white.

"If you are accessing content for free such as sport, TV and films for which you'd normally need a subscription, or go to the cinema, or buy a DVD, this is illegal.

"As the old saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is."

A Premier League spokesman told the BBC: "Fans should know that these pre-loaded boxes enable pirate broadcasts of Premier League football, and other popular content, and are illegal.

"People who supply them have been jailed or ordered to pay significant financial penalties.

"We are increasingly seeing prominent apps and add-ons being closed down as the law catches up with them leading to consumers being out of pocket.

"The Premier League will continue to protect its copyright, and the legitimate investment made by its broadcasting partners."