Keith Bannister, who runs Harleys Bar in Staveley, Derbyshire, questioned why the companies are not targeting suppliers after a Liverpool licensee was fined £65,000 last week for broadcasting Premier League football using a foreign satellite channel, the second ruling of its kind from the High Court in six weeks.
Bannister told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser: “There are naïve publicans that don’t have a clue about this kind of thing. Why are Premier League and Sky not taking the suppliers to task? Why are all the people leeching on the back of poor publicans getting away scot free? They should be named and shamed.”
Bannister was taken to court in 2010 for showing foreign satellite screenings but was acquitted after the court found that he had not been dishonest because he did not know receiving the matches from abroad was illegal.
He said he was sent another “glossy brochure” from a satellite company last week, who claim they are legal and have 600 publican subscribers.
Another licensee, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he has been approached by a similar company and feels that publicans still “don’t know where we stand” when it comes to broadcasting sport using foreign satellite providers.
“We’re in the mist,” he said. “Sky is saying it’s illegal, the firm’s saying it’s not. The licensees are stuck in the middle.”
However, the Premier League said it is aware that suppliers are misleading publicans and is currently taking legal action against a number of suppliers of unauthorised systems.
“We know that suppliers are misleading publicans by telling them these unauthorised systems are legal. They are not and recent cases have made that clear,” a spokesperson said.
Sky said it prosecuted a man at the end of last year for selling systems to pubs that allowed access to Sky Sports without a commercial viewing agreement. He pleaded guilty to fraud and other offences and was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment.
Alison Dolan, deputy managing director at Sky Business, said: “Sky takes legal action against suppliers selling systems allowing illegal access to Sky Sports programming, as well as pubs showing Sky Sports programmes illegally, to help to ensure honest licensees are not left short-changed.”