News > People

TV football in pubs: Premier League prosecution ruled void, others may be affected

By Peter Ruddick , 20-Aug-2012

Related topics: Business, Venues, People, Trends & Reports, Legislation, Pubs & Bars

A prosecution brought against a pub showing live Premier League football on TV by using an Albanian satellite system has been ruled 'void' by the High Court with legal experts claiming other similar rulings may now be in doubt.

A prosecution made on behalf of the Premier League against a pub showing live football using a foreign satellite decoder has been ruled unlawful by the High Court

A prosecution made on behalf of the Premier League against a pub showing live football using a foreign satellite decoder has been ruled unlawful by the High Court

Andrew and Christine Crawford, licensees at the Railway Inn at Helsby in Cheshire, faced prosecution proceedings brought by Media Protection Services (MPS) on behalf of the Premier League for using a foreign decoder to show live matches in their pub. 

However last year Chester Magistrates Court dismissed the proceedings because MPS had wrongly acted as though they were solicitors.

On Friday Lord Justice Stanley Burnton at the High Court upheld that decision calling the MPS prosecution 'incompetent' and declaring the proceedings were 'void' and 'should be dismissed'.

Implications

"They are honest, decent and hard working licensees," Paul Dixon of Molesworths Bright Clegg, who acted as the Crawford's solicitor, said of the couple. Dixon also suggested other prosecutions made by MPS on behalf of the Premier League could now be ruled void.

"They can now focus on what they do best - serving their local community. This decision of the High Court will have implications for all prosecutions brought by MPS between 2005 and 2011."

It is thought unless the Premier League appeal the ruling, past prosecutions made by the MPS could now be the subject of applications for them to also be declared void.

Speaking to BigHospitality's sister publication the Publican's Morning Advertiser , legal expert Peter Coulson said: "Does that mean that all the actions taken by MPS between 2005 and 2011 are void, and that they will have to pay back the damages and costs? I would say that if the judge has declared them void, then on an application they may well have to."

Legal technicality

Although it is not yet known how many prosecutions the ruling may impact, licensing experts have warned publicans the development does not change the legal position of pubs and bars trying to show live football using foreign satellite systems .

Following the ruling, a statement from the Premier League said the judgement was based on a 'legal technicality'.

"We have copyright protected works in our broadcasts. Sky and ESPN are the only authorised broadcasters of live Premier League matches in the UK. Publicans should be aware that legal action will be taken against those who use unauthorised systems."

BigHighlights

Michael Warren on heading up Harbour Hotels, his Hotel du Vin experience and why no two days are the same in hospitality
Small talk

Michael Warren on heading up Harbour Hotels, his Hotel du Vin experience and why no two days are the same in hospitality

Michael Warren spent 17 years at Hotel du Vin and Malmaison, helping with the development and expansion...

People on the Move in Hospitality: August 2014

People on the Move in Hospitality: August 2014

We've rounded up some of the latest movers and shakers in the hospitality industry, with the past...

60-Second Skill with Nigel Haworth: finely chopped onion

60-Second Skill with Nigel Haworth: finely chopped onion

Being able to chop finely is an essential skill if you want to make sauces or stocks...

Dish Deconstucted: José Pizarro's roasted monkfish with Serrano ham, black olives and thyme

Dish Deconstucted: José Pizarro's roasted monkfish with Serrano ham, black olives and thyme

At the recent Estrella Damm Gastronomy Congress, chef and restaurateur José Pizarro revealed the method behind a dish full...

Infographic: How to handle angry customers

Infographic: How to handle angry customers

Dealing with angry customers can be one of the most difficult, stressful and challenging parts of working...

Joanne Barratt: Pearls of Wisdom
Pearls of Wisdom

Joanne Barratt: Pearls of Wisdom

QHotels’ group operations manager talks about how important a strong team culture is in maintaining excellent standards...

Find us on Facebook

Digital Edition - Restaurant Magazine

Access to the Restaurant Magazine digital edition