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06th Feb 2024

Man jailed for selling online access to TV football

Callum Boyle

He also has to pay £91,000 back

A man has been jailed for 12 months after being found guilty of selling unlawful subscriptions to watch football matches online.

As per the BBC Paul Merrell, 42, will also be forced to pay back £91,243 after a confiscation order was secured against him at Birmingham Crown Court.

It was revealed during his hearing on Friday that Merrell made tens of thousands of pounds selling illegal streams of Premier League games under the name “Media Maverick”.

He used Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) technology which allows programmes and movies to be distributed via broadband however a number of illegal pre-loaded boxes have started appearing online.

As part of the deal, his customers would receive online access to stream premium television content including Premier League matches in exchange for a payment.

Merrell was was convicted of copyright crimes committed between 2017 and 2021.

The court heard Merrell also acted as a reseller for infamous TV fraud gang “Flawless”.

Five members of the “Flawless” gang were arrested last year for running an operation that received more than £7m from 50,000 subscribers.

Fact CEO Kieron Sharp said that the recent arrest of Merrell was a stark reminder to those who continued to sell illegally streamed platforms.

“We remain committed to protecting the rights of our partners in the audio-visual and sports industries and we will seek out and prosecute individuals involved in such criminality.”

In order to crack down on the issue the Premier League have been paying FACT to investigate these issues and Kevin Plumb, the league’s general counsel, has said they will continue to do so until they eradicate the problem.

“The Premier League’s substantial financial contribution to the entire football pyramid is made possible through the ability to sell our broadcast rights,” he said.”

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