A Football Nut may yet break the Premiership Sledgehammer - Broadcasting in Europe facing a shake up

The Football Association Premier League Ltd (FAPL) brought actions against pub landlords including against Karen Murphy of the Red White and Blue pub in Southsea, Portsmouth.  The pubs had showed football matches using satellite decoder cards imported from Greece and Arab States.  The FPAL had concluded UK exclusive broadcast deals for these matches.  The FAPL argued that the imported decoders were illicit devices and Karen Murphy was convicted for her use of the decoder.  She appealed.

The English courts recognised the wide implications in terms of the restrictions on free movement of goods and services in the EU.  The courts submitted a range of questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) following FAPL’s actions against a number of publicans.  The ECJ’s Advocate General Juliane Kokott has today published her opinion in FAPL v Murphy.  coming down heavily against the FAPL by saying there is no right to charge different prices for the broadcasts in the different Member States.  If the ECJ judgement follows this powerfully argued opinion,  then Sky will no longer be able to charge a high price for broadcasts of  football matches in the UK while other EU nationals can see the same matches  for much less payment.  European broadcasting of high value sport events would be shaken up and national price divisions would go.

The ECJ has not yet judged on this.  It could be that the determined football nuts of Portsmouth FC or Pompey have indeed cracked the big sledgehammer of the FAPL.  Next Pompey fans will want to see a strong recovery of their team’s form heralding a quick rise and promotion to the Premier League.  

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