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Authorities crack down on illegal football fire stick streaming

Football fans in the UK who partake in illegal football fire stick streaming have been warned that they could do jail time if caught out.

Using a jailbroken fire stick to stream live football has become increasingly popular in the UK in recent years as Sky and TNT Sports have priced regular fans out of watching their team in action on television.

With the number of free-to-air matches dwindling, too, football fans have been turning to illegal fire sticks to gain access to live football. While the annual cost of these sticks are drastically less than the annual cost of a subscription to Sky Sports and TNT Sports, authorities are warning that they could get you into serious trouble.

The illegality of the operation relates to section 11 of the Fraud Act from 2006, which covers the issue of “obtaining services dishonestly”, which is effectively what people are doing when they are watching copyrighted content on their fire stick.

illegal football fire stick streaming
Authorities are looking to crack down on those using fire sticks to illegally stream football – Photo by Icon Sport

A warning from FACT

The latest in a long line of warnings about illegal football fire stick streaming comes from the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT UK). They are threatening to send cease and desist letters to suspect's homes and/or turn up on their doorsteps. A spokesperson for FACT issued the following statement:

“FACT constantly monitors the digital landscape to combat illegal streaming activities in the UK and Ireland. We utilise a range of methods to identify individuals engaged in unauthorised businesses that offer access to illegal streams.

“One of these methods is through our partnership with Crimestoppers to make it as easy as possible to report illegal streaming, and over the past year, we have seen a significant increase in the number of reports directly linked to Fire Sticks and illegal streaming.

“These reports are then investigated by our Intelligence Unit, and followed up with a rolling programme of action which includes issuing ‘Cease and Desist' letters and conducting nationwide ‘Knock and Talks'. These home visits, undertaken in conjunction with law enforcement, serve to inform individuals about their activities and the immediate need to cease and desist or face further action or prosecution.

“We also work In close collaboration with law enforcement to gather further evidence to actively pursue legal actions against these criminal entities.”

Could you go to prison for illegal football fire stick streaming?

For breaching section 11 of the Fraud Act, you could face a maximum sentence of five years in jail. However, the general consensus has always been that authorities are more focused on targeting those who provide these services rather than those who make use of fire stick streaming.

Last year, five men were sentenced to a combined 30+ years in prison for operating the UK's largest illegal streaming service. The group, all aged between 30 and 46, are thought to have made millions from the operation with more than 50,000 customers on their books.

Their arrest and subsequent prosecution was part of a Premier League operation to clamp down on piracy amid fears that broadcasters would stop paying the millions they currently do to have “exclusive” rights on Premier League matches.

Andy Delaney

Andy is a freelance sports writer with ten years of experience covering major sporting events across Europe. He has also been a season ticket holder at Old Trafford since 2008 and has visited over 40 football stadiums in the United Kingdom and abroad following the Reds.

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