NEWPORT County AFC have told supporters that illegal streaming of their fixtures is not a victimless crime and that it hits their club in the pocket.

The Exiles have made a superb start to the League Two season but fans have had to settle for watching games on their screens.

With fixtures being played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic, County season ticket holders have been able to watch on iFollow.

Fans can also buy passes to individual games – both at Rodney Parade and away from home – for £10.

All of that money, minus tax, boosts the coffers of the host team but the Exiles hierarchy have been alarmed at their social media posts being targeted by those offering free coverage to supporters.

South Wales Argus: Brandon Cooper in action for Newport County AFCBrandon Cooper in action for Newport County AFC

“I liken it to somebody robbing your house and then selling the goods outside your garage. It is just incredible,” said chairman Gavin Foxall.

“We have spoken to the EFL and they are aware that piracy is a challenge generally; the Premier League have spent a lot trying to solve it and it is a very difficult thing to stop.

“But I don’t believe that genuine fans would want to take money away from a football club in the current financial climate.

“When they are able to come, most of our fans turn up on a Saturday, buy their tickets and walk through the door to watch the game.

“What you have got here is a position, and other clubs have the same challenge, where people have got some sort of dodgy streaming stick or watch these streams.

“What fans need to realise is that takes money directly away from the club at a time when we need it.

“While it will never replace fans in the stadium, from either an atmosphere or revenue perspective, it is still important to the club.”

South Wales Argus:

County have budgeted for playing without fans in the stands until next year and plans to open up EFL grounds for socially-distances crowds have been postponed.

That leaves the Exiles welcoming the cash boost from the matchday passes, with the revenue for the first 500 sales going to the home club and the away club getting a share of those above that figure.

“I have spoken to some fans and they didn’t realise that it was money that is directly being taken away from the club,” said Foxall.

“For this season, and we are looking into early next year, it is an important revenue stream for us. It has to be.

“Fans wouldn’t try to get over a wall and get into the ground for nothing or buy a ticket for an age group that they are not in, so what’s different about this?

“If you are watching the product, paying for it means that the money goes directly to the club and helps them significantly.”

County host Tranmere on Saturday before trips to Stevenage and Bradford.