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Premier league football – wrong decision which undermines the beautiful game!

3 February 2011

Today Advocate General Julian Kokatt ruled that any broadcast receiving equipment could be used to receive premiership football games. The decision looks like a victory for pub landlady Karen Murphy who was convicted in 2007 for the fraudulent reception of transmissions which she had received using a Greek satellite receiver. The AJ ruled that the restriction on using “foreign” receivers breached european competition laws.

If this decision is upheld it will have serious detrimental effects on the investment in the game at every level in the UK. More fundamentally it cuts across the fundamental right of a rights holder such as the Premier League to package and licence those rights on a country by country basis. If the decision is upheld by the ECJ the result may well be higher prices for all consumers across Europe which will occur as a result in the inevitable reduction (and amalgamation) in the number of european broadcasters licensed to transmit premiership football. Ironically this is something that Brussels had originally encouraged the industry to avoid!

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Declan Cushley

Declan Cushley

Partner and Head of IP and Commercial Group

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