Broadcaster beIN Sports is taking legal action against Fenerbahce over the Turkish club’s high-profile campaign against the network.
beIN is suing Fenerbahce for breach of intellectual property after they displayed “beFAIR” branding on the team’s apparel and pitchside advertising displays.
Fenerbahce and their president Ali Koc have adopted “beFAIR” as the slogan for a public relations war with beIN, even going as far as doctoring beIN’s branding.
They have accused the broadcaster of conspiring against them by manipulating VAR and choosing unfavourable camera angles and highlights. beIN has dismissed the claims.
Lawyers for beIN are set to lodge papers with Turkey’s IP courts in Istanbul in the next 24 hours.
A beIN Media Group spokesperson said: “We will take whatever legal action necessary to protect our rights. As we have shown before, we take an uncompromising approach to the protection of IP, not least because it is the economic foundation of football.”
The club, which signed Mesut Ozil from Arsenal last month, has obstructed media access for beIN and sent players out for interviews and warm-ups in “beFAIR” branded T-shirts and training tops.
Fenerbahce have also displayed the “beFAIR” messaging on advertising boards at home matches.
Referencing the dispute, the club also displayed the message “Fenerbahce cannot be challenged” at yesterday’s 1-0 defeat to Goztepe.
beIN currently pays $370m a year for the domestic rights to Turkey’s Super Lig in a deal that expires next year.
Fenerbahce are one of the three biggest clubs in the country, with Galatasaray and Besiktas, but are more than $700m in debt.
The Turkish Football Federation has announced it will begin the sale process for the next rights cycle soon.
Fenerbahce’s stance is understood to have made beIN question whether to bid again.
The Qatari broadcaster was embroiled in a long-running legal battle over the piracy of its output on Saudi Arabia-based channel beoutQ.
beoutQ, which mirrored beIN’s output, was finally switched off in 2019.