Cheaper Football for Pubs

Scottish licensees could use European decoder cards to screen football matches in their pubs, and save themselves cash, following Karen Murphy’s successful appeal to the European Court of Justice(ECJ). The court ruled against the Premier League earlier this month, stating that pubs can show football matches via foreign (European) television decoders. The court said that restricting the sale of European foreign satellite decoder cards is “contrary to the freedom to provide services.” Subsequently it seems unlikely the UK courts will stop the use of European decoder cards being used in pubs.
Karen Murphy had been prosecuted for screening games via a Greek decoder card, now her case will to go back to the UK high court for a ruling.
However Scottish licensee, Lisa Wishart of Lisini Leisure, who has been following the case closely due to the fact that her own company was penalised by the SPL for doing the same thing four years ago, says, “It all makes perfect sense. And we may now countersue the SPL for loss of earnings and the cost of fighting the legal case.” She adds, “I was initially delighted, but I am sure there will be ramifications. I’m not sure what the publican will actually gain out of the ruling. I would think that the companies supplying foreign decoders will now put their prices up.
“However, licensees around the country are no doubt now cancelling their Sky subscriptions. But the company only has itself to blame. I don’t know another provider that so aggressively has put up prices during this economic climate. Now we will have to wait and see.”
It is thought that the ruling could mean that satellite prices are pushed up in the European member states but brought down in the UK. And Sky will now have to look at buying European rights. In the short term it will be good news for Scottish licensees, but long-term it could a detrimental effect on Scottish football which benefits from the cash generated by the SPL selling the viewing rights to Sky.

Category: News
Tags: cheaper football, karen murphy, pubs