Premier League loses appeal over foreign satellite football case against Cheshire pub

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Live premier league, Appeal, Judge

Premier League loses appeal over foreign satellite football case against Cheshire pub
The High Court has ruled that a prosecution brought by Media Protection Services (MPS) on behalf of the FA Premier League against a pub in Cheshire was "incompetent".

Lord Justice Stanley Burton upheld a decision by Chester Magistrates Court on 25 October 2011 dismissing the proceedings against Andrew and Christine Crawford of the Railway Inn at Helsby.

The initial prosecution by MPS in 2010 related to the use of an Albanian satellite system at the pub which was used to broadcast a live Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool.

However, dismissing the appeal, Burton said that MPS’s prosecution was “incompetent” and agreed with the previous judgment that the proceedings were “void and should therefore be dismissed.”

It was ruled that in the case, MPS was “not acting in their own right but on behalf of FAPL, for reward.”

The judge said that MPS director Ray Hoskin (now deceased) had “acted as a solicitor within the meaning and in breach of section 20 of the 1974 (Solicitors) Act. He was not an authorised litigator.”

“We are immensely relieved,” said Christine Crawford. “It is about three years since it all started going a bit pear-shaped and it almost cost us our business.

“We didn’t think we had done anything wrong and to be faced with court, having never been to court before, was terrifying.”

Speaking after the hearing, the Crawford’s solicitor Paul Dixon of Molesworths Bright Clegg, said: “I am delighted for Andrew and Christine. They are honest, decent and hard working licensees, and they can now focus on what they do best - serving their local community.”

A Premier League spokesperson said: "This judgment is in regard to a legal technicality and does not change the fact that 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 and cards to show live Premier League matches in a pub or other commercial premises.”

Related topics: Licensing law, Legislation

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