Premier League Piracy Case To Be Held In October

August 2, 2011

The decision over the English Premier League’s fight with a UK publican over its unauthorised broadcasting of its matches will be held on October 4 in the European Court of Justice.

Considered one of most-eagerly awaited legal ruling in the sports broadcasting industry for years as it could lead to a major overhaul of the way sports rights are sold across Europe. The initial opinion of the court’s advocate general, Juliane Kokott, in February, was that the exclusive licensing of the Premier League’s rights by single European territory is at odds with one of the founding principles of the European Union – the free movement of goods and services.

The Premier League’s chief executive, Richard Scudamore, told the UK government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), that the league has not conducted an assessment of the effect on the Premier League’s finances should territorial licensing be ruled illegal. He said that the principle of being allowed to sell overseas rights on a territory-by-territory basis was important both to the Premier League and to foreign consumers, as rights were marketed and prepared differently according to the specific needs of the territory.

However, he also went on to say, that it would be wrong to assume that a change would lead to a drop in the Premier League’s income. The DCMS produced a select committee report on governance in UK football, which was published last week.

Henry Burgess, the head of professional and international sport at the DCMS said that the government had “supported the broad principles put forward by the Premier League.” The DCMS report also reveals that the UK Sports Minister, Hugh Robertson, has “affirmed that he had taken the issue up with the responsible European Commissioner.”