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FIFA tried to remove pirate sites from Google search ahead of World Cup

FIFA unsuccessfully attempted to get Google to remove several allegedly infringing URLs from its search results ahead of the World Cup, it has emerged.

The entire tournament is being shown for free in the UK, with coverage split between the BBC and ITV. The Beeb is even showing 29 games in glorious 4K HDR.

However, football fans in other parts of the world might not be so lucky, and will need to pay a subscription fee in order to tune in.

Read more: How to watch the World Cup in 4K HDR

Unsurprisingly, matches have been available to live stream illegally too, on a range of pirate websites.

Ahead of the tournament’s opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia, NetResult − acting on behalf of FIFA − sent Google a takedown notice, first spotted by TorrentFreak, for 33 different URLs.

“The listed URLs are all either linking directly to embedded live streams of unauthorised live football content (2018 FIFA World Cup), or advising users how to access unauthorised live streams not available in their territory,” it reads.

While many of the sites that feature on the list are known to provide free access to football live streams, others appear to simply explain which broadcasters are showing the World Cup.

What’s more, as noted by TorrentFreak, Sportsnet.ca is a legitimate service that’s owned by Canadian firm Rogers Media. FuboTV, which is also listed, is another legitimate sports streaming service, which the likes of Sky and 21st Century Fox have invested in in the past.

Read more: The next major piracy battleground

Google opted against removing any of the URLs, though it hasn’t provided any reasons why.

The tournament has been cracking so far, with Russia, Croatia, Uruguay, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, England and France already guaranteed to feature in the Round of 16.

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