Fi­nal whis­tle for il­le­gal foot­ball web­sites

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - News - Awatkins@cb­

By Alex Watkins A MA­JOR Na­tional Po­lice op­er­a­tion has shut down a num­ber of web­sites that were il­le­gally show­ing foot­ball matches.

Seven peo­ple have been ar­rested around the coun­try, in­clud­ing in Ali­cante, re­vealed a spokesman for the force.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan in 2016 af­ter the le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Span­ish pro­fes­sional foot­ball league (La Liga) lodged an of­fi­cial com­plaint against the sites.

He ac­cused them of charg­ing money to view matches which La Liga had ex­clu­sive rights to show.

The po­lice’s ini­tial en­quiries found 13 web­sites be­ing used in this way, which of­fered links to view matches that were listed ac­cord­ing to kick-off times and tour­na­ments.

The con­tent was avail­able in var­i­ous for­mats, in­clud­ing live stream­ing or as files avail­able by di­rect down­load or via peerto peer (P2P) ser­vices.

The web­sites also ob­tained in­come from sell­ing ad­ver­tis­ing on the sites, ex­plained the spokesman.

To make it harder to lo­cate the source of the web­sites and shut them down, their servers were lo­cated in France, Spain, the USA and Canada, us­ing com­pa­nies that of­fer ser­vices as an in­ter­me­di­ary so that the real man­agers can re­main anony­mous.

In or­der to at­tract users and there­fore more prof­its - the pages were us­ing the name of an­other well-known web­site which had been shut down by the Na­tional Po­lice in Oc­to­ber 2016.

Of­fi­cers searched eight homes in Madrid, Ali­cante and Al­bacete; Já­tiva, Vil­la­longa and Gandía in Va­len­cia prov­ince; and Campil­los in Málaga.

The raids caught the web­site ad­min­is­tra­tors in the act of manag­ing the pages.

“This en­abled the in­ves­ti­ga­tors to prove on site that the of­fence was be­ing com­mit­ted and to col­lect many pieces of phys­i­cal, dig­i­tal and doc­u­men­tary ev­i­dence,” noted the spokesman.

As well as ar­rest­ing seven peo­ple, the po­lice were able to block ac­cess to seven web­sites and three bank ac­counts which re­ceived the in­come from this il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity.

Po­lice es­ti­mate that those re­spon­si­ble could have made around €1.4 mil­lion from ad­ver­tis­ing and sub­scrip­tion rev­enue.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion will con­tinue to an­a­lyse the ev­i­dence ob­tained from the searches and the po­lice have not ruled out mak­ing more ar­rests or shut­ting down more web­sites if they ob­tain fur­ther ev­i­dence.

An of­fi­cer in­ves­ti­gates on the in­ter­net

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