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New clamp down on streaming

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Premier League officials are in talks with cyber-security companies in an effort to stop fans watching their matches on illegal online streams.

In recent years, the number of fans using the internet to stream games shown live by foreign broadcasters has risen sharply.   Some of the most popular broadcasters are in Australia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates.

It has been estimated that up to one million viewers watch illegal streams each week.  The biggest demand is at 3 pm on a Saturday, when no live football is shown in Britain but is broadcast in other regions. 

Last year the Premier League blocked 45,000 illegal streams (i.e., less than five per cent of those utilised).   However, negotiations are under way for more sophisticated protection which would tighten 'geofencing' procedures.   Many users circumvent the current security blocks by using technology that fools the internet service providers into thinking that browsers are in fact in another region.