Bolton targets satellite pubs

By Iain O'Neil Iain.oneil@william-reed.co.uk

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Foreign satellite football Bolton wanderers f.c. Premier league

Premiership club Bolton Wanderers is seeking licence reviews of pubs around the Reebok Stadium that show foreign satellite football. Bolton said it...

Premiership club Bolton Wanderers is seeking licence reviews of pubs around the Reebok Stadium that show foreign satellite football.

Bolton said it believes the pubs are affecting its attendances - and more clubs are set to follow Bolton's lead.

Speaking exclusively to the MA, Wanderer's chief executive Allan Duckworth said: "We've noticed pubs showing these games for a while but for the last 12 to 18 months it has become quite a significant problem.

"It definitely affects our attendances. We've done research with fans locally and we are sure it is affecting a lot of other licensees in the area who are acting legitimately."

Duckworth said that other Premiership clubs were preparing to take similar action.

He said: "We've spoken to the licensing authority and the local police and we believe a licence review is the most appropriate way to deal with this issue.

"It's a growing problem - unless we take some pretty strong action, it is only going to get worse.

"We have been monitoring certain premises that we know have been illegally broadcasting Saturday afternoon matches for some time and we are looking at those which regularly show games."

When asked how long it would be until the first action was taken, Duckworth said: "We are fast approaching that point. We have done all the homework and we are ready to take action."

MA legal expert Peter Coulson said: "Only certain people are qualified to seek a review and that includes businesses in the vicinity of the premises.

"They can only ask for a review on one or more of the licensing objectives.

"Clubs can seek a review if they can show that a criminal offence - in this case copyright theft - is taking place within the vicinity of their ground, because one of the four licensing objectives of the Licensing Act is the prevention of crime."

Licensees face court again

Two Portsmouth licensees who beat prosecution for showing foreign satellite football last season will appear in court again this week, charged with the same offence.

Derek Hopper of the Royal Exchange and Karen Murphy of the Red, White and Blue - part of the so-called Pompey Five - were caught showing Premiership matches using foreign satellite channels again at the start of this season.

Last June, Murphy was acquitted after a judge ruled she had not acted "dishonestly" because she believed the system was legal. Hopper had charges against him dropped. He is asking licensees who sent messages last time to contact him.again.

Shepherd Neame to issue FA guidelines to tenants

Kent brewer and pub operator Shepherd Neame is to write to its licensees giving them advice on the use of foreign satellite football systems.

The company decided to take the action after meeting with FA Premier League representatives who set out their view of the law. A Shepherd Neame spokesman said: "We have attended a meeting at the FA

Premier League headquarters and are writing to all our tenants to clarify the correct satellite system procedures."

FA Premier League spokesman Dan Johnson said: "We have an open-door policy and welcome any interest from companies seeking clarification."

The FA Premier League has also launched proceedings against a second foreign satellite supplier - AV Station - in the High Court. In December the FA launched legal proceedings against QC Leisure, another supplier of foreign satellite equipment.

Related topics Licensing law Legislation

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