Monday, September 20, 1999 Published at 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK
Pubs pirate premier football
It is illegal to watch Saturday games live on TV
By the BBC's Charles Rhodes
It is just before three o'clock on a Saturday afternoon, the credits roll as an American action movie finishes on the big screen in the corner of the bar.
They're all breaking the law. To promote attendance at games, fans are forbidden by football authorities from watching league football live in Britain on television on Saturday afternoons.
In addition to the £743m Sky and the BBC pay to screen Premier League football in the United Kingdom, top clubs collect millions more from an overseas contract with Canal Plus.
Canal Plus gets access to Sky's live games as well as those on Saturdays covered by the BBC's Match of the Day cameras. From London the action is beamed to satellites and then fed to TV stations around the world.
British viewers with the right equipment can only intercept and unscramble the pictures aimed at Scandinavia because the footprint of the satellite extends over the United Kingdom.
The Premier League says it aims to crack down hard on dealers who sell equipment designed to broadcast the Scandinavian games. It is also working with brewers to try and stop landlords showing the matches.
But with hundreds of cards available on the black market and new encryption codes unscrambled within hours by hackers and then displayed on the internet, they face a tough task stopping pirates cashing in on what has become an insatiable appetite for football.