Illegal football

Licensee hit with £85k fine for showing Sky Sports with residential viewing card

By Oli Gross

- Last updated on GMT

Licensee hit with £85k fine for showing Sky Sports with residential viewing card

Related tags Commercial viewing agreement Broadcasting Law

A licensee has been slapped with a record £85,307.17 fine after being caught airing Sky Sports illegally at her pub.

Sky took legal action against Elizabeth Polding – the former licensee of The Eccleston Arms in Merseyside. The collosal sum recovers damages and costs for using a residential viewing card from Ireland to broadcast Sky Sports.

The Eccleston Arms is now under new management and is a legitimate Sky commercial customer.

Sky brought civil proceedings against the licensee for infringing its copyright, by showing Sky Sports to customers without having a valid commercial viewing agreement in place.


Sky Sports is only available to licensed premises in mainland UK via a commercial viewing agreement directly from Sky Business.

Licensees who show Sky broadcasts without a commercial viewing agreement risk similar action or even a criminal prosecution.

Alison Dolan, Deputy Managing Director at Sky Business, said: “Law-abiding pubs and clubs who legitimately pay commercial Sky subscriptions are fed up with losing customers to venues that continue to screen Sky Sports illegally.

“In fact, in a 2015 Ipsos MORI poll 82% of publicans said they believe unauthorised screening of live sport impacts other pubs. This ruling is just the latest in our efforts to ensure they are not short changed and the size of the financial penalty shows the extent to which the courts take this offence seriously.”


This case is part of Sky’s commitment to protect legitimate paying customers. The broadcaster will visit every licensed premises reported by other publicans or organisations for illegally showing Sky, and has visited more than 700 pubs each week in towns and cities across the UK this season.

Dolan continued: “Those who choose to televise content illegally run the very real risk of being caught and facing substantial penalties or damages, and such is the reality for Ms Polding.

“If you are showing Sky Sports and do not have a valid commercial viewing agreement with Sky you are breaking the law, it is irrelevant where the source has come from.” 

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