Watching Haye vs Bellew fight illegally comes with big risks, police warn

Tony Bellew and David Haye meet for their highly anticipated rematch on Saturday night and, as is always the case with high-profile sporting fixtures, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to try to tune in illegally.

Whether it’s through Facebook or Twitter, a Kodi addon or dedicated pirate site, it’s against the law, and the police have issued a little reminder ahead of the fight.

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“Don’t let your eagerness to tune in make you commit a crime,” said Detective Inspector Nick Court of the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit.

“By using illegal streaming sites you can open yourself up to several risks; some set-top boxes do not go through rigorous electrical testing and are therefore at risk of catching fire or giving electric shocks. By using legitimate providers these risks can easily be avoided. Watch it live, watch it legally.”

And the warning doesn’t just apply to people who are hoping to tune in to illegal streams. It also applies to anyone planning to re-stream the fight for others to watch for free.

“Fans need to be aware of the illegalities of streaming,” said Neil Parkes from law firm Foot Anstey. “Despite the excitement surround the fight, those wanting to stream the fight must be aware that it is illegal to share a stream of the fight, even if you have paid to watch it.

“Many of those who have illegally shared previous fights on social media have been subject to legal action and been required to pay thousands of pounds in legal costs – don’t become one of them.”

A Sky customer who illegally shared last year’s Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko fight on Facebook Live had his subscription cancelled and had to pay the company £5,000 after an illegal stream that was watched by more than 4000 people was tracked back to his account.

Similar warnings were issued ahead of the Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker bout earlier this year, but hundreds of thousands of people still tuned in illegally.

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Cybersecurity firm Irdeto said it managed to detect 339 illegal streams of that fight. 207 of them could be found through social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Periscope and Twitch, and another 71 pirate were accessible through illicit Kodi addons.

Sky Sports customers can watch the fight between the Bomber and the Hayemaker through Box Office for £19.95. If you don’t fancy that, pop down to your local.

Do you think these warnings will persuade people to turn their backs on pirate streams? Share your thoughts on Twitter @TrustedReviews.