A gang of five fraudsters have been jailed for more than 30 years in total for illegally streaming Premier League football games.
Lawyers for England’s top division said that they brought these proceedings in order to safeguard ‘some of the world’s most valuable content’.
According to the Premier League, the men were convicted of of conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and contempt of court.
They were also the subject of a long investigation by Hammersmith and Fulham Council trading standards.
Now, the details of those who subscribed to Flawless TV are also in the hands of the investigators, raising questions about what to do with them.
36-year-old Mark Gould, described as the ‘prime mover’ of the gang, was sentenced to 11 years at Derby Crown Court.
Four other gang members were sentenced to between three and more than five years, including one member – 36-year-old Christopher Felvus - who was also found guilty of voyeurism and possessing indecent images of children, which were discovered on his computer.
Investigator Doug Love said that the whole thing was blown open by a raid on Gould’s riverside flat in Greenwich.
He told BBC News: "I don't think any of us realised how big it was,
"When we went into the spare bedroom, there were 20 or 30 set-top boxes linked together."
They were gathering streams from UK broadcasters, as well as from around the world – locations like Qatar, Australia, and Canada – before sending them out on the Flawless service.
They also had a developed app that allowed users to choose the game they wanted to watch on-screen.
Between 2016 and 2021, the gang made £7.2 million, with Gould making £1.7 million personally, according to the league.
Their cost of around £10 per month was around £70 cheaper than the legal services from Sky, BT Sport, and Amazon Prime.
To those who did subscribe to the service, whilst they’re unlikely to face action, Love said: "You get sports and you are getting a cheap price,
"But you're committing an offence and putting yourself in danger.
"You are contributing to organised crime who won't be paying taxes and can make a quick buck by selling your details on."
After the ruling, the Premier League’s general counsel, Kevin Plumb, said that they’d now be going after other illegal streams.
"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.
"We are pleased that through rulings such as this, the courts continue to show that they recognise the importance of safeguarding the Premier League's rights.
"We will continue to protect our rights and our fans by investigating and prosecuting illegal operators at all levels."Featured Image Credit: BBC/ Action Plus Sports Images / Alamy Stock Photo