Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Landlady hails TV football victory

Landlady Karen Murphy celebrates at her pub in Portsmouth
Karen Murphy won her legal battle against the Premier League over the screening of games at the Red, White and Blue pub

A pub landlady is celebrating winning the latest round of a legal battle to allow her to screen live football matches.

Karen Murphy paid £800 a year for the Greek decoder, saying she "couldn't afford" Sky's charge of £700 a month.

She took her fight for the right to use the cheaper provider to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), and it has now ruled that having an exclusive system is "contrary to EU law".

The next stage of what she dubbed her "Karen versus Goliath" fight will see lawyers scrutinising the judgment at the High Court to determine what the implications will be.

The Premier League has claimed a partial victory, as the ECJ stated that it maintained the copyright for some sections of the broadcast. But Mrs Murphy, who runs The Red, White and Blue pub in Portsmouth, said she believed she had won "90%" of the battle.

She said: "It's been the battle of the little guy - these corporate people feel they can throw money at things and just win. It's taken quite a chunk of my life but I'm glad I took it on. It's been like Karen versus Goliath."

The High Court, which originally referred the case to the EU, will now look at it again to clarify the law.

Mrs Murphy said: "I am sure the likes of the FA and Sky will do anything to protect their interests. I don't know how it will pan out, I hope it doesn't go back to the way it was as it's not fair for the customer, it's not a free market. They shouldn't have been as greedy in the first place."

Mrs Murphy took her fight to the ECJ after being ordered to pay almost £8,000 in fines and costs, having been taken to court by the League for using a Greek decoder in her pub to screen matches - and thus avoiding the League's own controls over where its matches are screened.

The Premier League said it would now need time to digest the judgment and how it could influence the sale of broadcast rights in Europe.

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