EU foreign satellite opinion backs Murphy and suppliers

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Foreign satellite football European union Ecj

The battle over foreign satellite football has taken a dramatic twist, with an advocate general at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) saying decoder...

The battle over foreign satellite football has taken a dramatic twist, with an advocate general at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) saying decoder cards should not be restricted to an individual country under current EU law.

Advocate general Kokott has given an opinion which says that EU law does not make it possible to stop the live transmission of Premier League matches in pubs using foreign decoder cards.

It relates to the long-running case involving Portsmouth licensee Karen Murphy's appeal and action by the Premier League against suppliers of the equipment.

However, Kokott's view is an opinion and not legally binding. Judges at the ECJ will now consider it and are expected to give a judgement within three months, which will then be sent to the High Court in London.

A statement from the ECJ on the opinion said: "The rights in the transmission of football matches does not justify a partitioning of the internal market, and thus also does not justify the resulting restrictions of the freedom to provide services."

Solicitor Paul Dixon, of Molesworths, Bright, Clegg, who has represented Murphy, said Kokott's view was "very encouraging".

"It's a significant opinion in our favour," he said. However, he stressed it was an opinion, and though more often than not the full court would go with this view, it was not always the case.

A statement from the Premier League said: "We would hope that when the ECJ comes to its judgment in our case that the current European law, framed to help promote, celebrate and develop the cultural differences within the EU, is upheld.

"If the European Commission wants to create a pan-European licensing model for sports, film and music then it must go through the proper consultative and legislative processes to change the law rather than attempting to force through legislative changes via the courts.

"The ECJ is there to enforce the law, not change it."

Related topics Legislation

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