Page last updated at 15:34 GMT, Tuesday, 15 April 2008 16:34 UK

Premiership TV case goes to court

Carlos Tevez is tackled by Paulo Ferreira
The Premier League is trying to thwart the viewing of foreign TV stations

The Premier League has launched a court case to stop UK residents watching Premiership football games broadcast by foreign TV stations.

The league is seeking damages and a High Court order against two firms who supply cards that decode TV signals from Greece and North Africa.

The two firms, QC Leisure and AV Station, say their sales are legal under European law.

But the league said their actions were a "good old-fashioned rip-off."

James Mellor QC, who represents the Premier League, said the companies were illegally infringing the FA's copyright.

"It is about dealers making a fat profit. All they do is get hold of a foreign card and apply a substantial mark up of up to 100%," he said.

"How do they get hold of these cards? They get them through deception," he added.


Mr Mellor told the court that pubs in the UK were obliged to pay a commercial subscription to Sky TV if they wanted to show live football matches to their customers.

Breaching this obligation was a breach of contract and a criminal offence, he argued.

He said that more than 180 pubs had already been prosecuted for using domestic Sky cards on their premises.

And he argued that using a domestic card from a foreign country was equally illegal.

He said the cards in question were not meant to be used outside their home countries and had been obtained by the defendants using false names and addresses in Greece and North Africa.

The two companies will argue that EU law lets goods move freely throughout the European Union and that if they are available they can be sold anywhere in the EU.

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