Premier League and La Liga targeted in €5million illegal streaming scam

Police have blocked 43 million illegal users of football streaming services

Police across Europe have taken down illegal football streaming sites being used by 43 million people.
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EEngland’s Premier League and Spain’s La Liga have had 43 million illegal viewers blocked by Europe’s crime agency.

The illegal streaming operation made €5million ($6m) for the criminals.

Police in Spain worked with Eurojust and Europol in launching a crackdown.

One suspect was arrested by the Spanish authorities, and three others were taken for questioning in Spain and Andorra.

"With the support of Eurojust, the Spanish authorities have taken action to block the illegal streaming of football matches of major professional leagues via the Mobdro mobile application," Eurojust said.

"More than 43 million users worldwide had downloaded this application to watch games of, for instance, the Spanish La Liga and English Premier League via servers and platforms that illegally tapped into regular audio-visual signals."

The app can no longer be found in Spain, Portugal and the Czech Republic, where some of the platforms were hosted.

The investigation was launched in 2018 following complaints by the Spanish Professional Football League (La Liga Española de Fútbol), the English Premier League, and the professional copyright holders' organisation, FAP.

"The main suspect used primary computer domains and servers to connect illegally to legally operating services using the Mobdro application," Eurojust said.

"The services were offered to customers worldwide, advertised via online tools. During the investigations, further illegal streaming activities without paying copyrights to regular platforms were uncovered."

Police carried out four raids in connection with the case, confiscating equipment which was used to upload the app by platforms and servers in Spain, Portugal and the Czech Republic.

"Audio-visual piracy by the illegal transmission of television and streaming signals has seen a big increase in recent years, with Eurojust co-ordinating action days at the request of national authorities since 2019," the agency said.

"In these operations, close to 6,000 servers have been seized in order to block the abuse of services of legally operating and copyrights-paying enterprises by criminal organisations, which use this kind of crime for money laundering purposes."