Last month, the streaming platform has started showing games from Spain’s La Liga to its UK subscribers during the blackout period, claiming to generate revenue from football fans who would otherwise turn to illegal streams.
The move by Eleven Sports is supported by La Liga, which says that Eleven’s actions are pushing the boundaries to challenge illegal services which currently have a monopoly on broadcasts in the UK.
Now, the broadcaster is backing down but says “it is irresponsible to leave the market in the hands of criminals.
“We maintain our strong view that the rule, which dates back to the 1950’s, is unfit for the modern, digital era – particularly for overseas games which we hold the rights to.
“The blackout is one of the biggest generators of piracy in the UK. These games are very easily accessed on illegal sites online and it is naïve to think that fans do not watch them because they are not shown on legitimate platforms, except for betting sites.
“Fans in the UK should have the freedom and the choice to watch these games legally through the official rights holder, as they do all over the world. Regrettably, intense pressure from stakeholders within the football establishment means that football fans across the country do not have this option.
“With the best interests of football fans at heart, we are currently considering all legal and regulatory options, including the referral of the case to the appropriate authorities.”