THE Policia Nacional have arrested 166 people in a big push against illegal football match screenings in hospitality establishments across Spain.

Those detained were business owners along with distributors of the clandestine signals, who supplied decoders and equipment to screen La Liga games in breach of copyright.

TV piracy of sports rights has been an ongoing issue for years in Spain, with authorities having a series of pushes to stop illegal relays which deprive sporting bodies of income.

The police launched a a fresh probe in January after the latest in a series of La Liga complaints over bars using equipment to show games without paying for them.

It’s estimated that over €1 million of fees were lost to the footballing body from premises visited by the police in the latest operation.

La Liga supplied a list of offenders it knew of in Sevilla, Malaga, Cordoba, Zaragoza, Valladolid, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Gijon, Madrid, Vigo, Las Palmas, Bilbao and Barcelona.

The Policia Nacional checked out the list and confirmed that unauthorised screenings were taking place.

In a coordinated response, officers across Spain then raided the offending bars on the same day when La Liga matches were being played and televised.

The police said they were able to dismantle the entire infrastructure that supplied the illegal service including the people who created the network, which charged a subscription fee to clients.

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