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February 17, 2011

An hour for Wills and Kate?

LICENSING boards around Scotland have been asked to help the trade commemorate the royal wedding – by granting pubs an extra hour of trading on the big day (Friday April 29 into Saturday April 30). The call comes from the country’s two biggest pub trade groups, the SBPA and the SLTA, which have written to every board in Scotland requesting an entitlement that’s already been handed to pubs in England and Wales. In the letter, the groups ask boards to invoke section 67 of the 2005 licensing Act, which allows hours to be extended during events of “national significance”. They say a general grant of an extra hour, which would see pubs normally licensed till midnight be able to sell alcohol till 1am on Saturday April 30, would save boards the administrative burden of wading through what could be thousands of applications for occasional extensions. Pubs already licensed to 1am would not receive an extra hour. Writing on behalf of the

SLTA and SBPA, solicitor Jack Cummins said “the royal wedding is precisely the sort of event of ‘national significance’ envisaged by section 67, and that the Scottish public ought to be able to enjoy a dispensation similar to that afforded to the remainder of Great Britain”.

Advocate general sides with foreign decoders in Murphy case opinion

TV footie debate in injury time

By Scott Wright

HOPES have been raised that pubs could be given access to English Premier League foot- ball for a fraction of the price they currently pay. It follows an opinion issued

by a top legal adviser to the European Court of Justice this month that the use of foreign decoder cards to show live EPL matches should not be restrict- ed under EU law.

But the opinion is non-bind-

ing, and does not bring legal clarity on the debate over the use of foreign decoders to show EPL games in UK pubs. That is expected to come when the European Court of Justice delivers its judgement in three months time, after which it will be passed to the High Court in London. The advocate general’s opin- ion relates to civil law actions brought by the FA Premier League, which licenses BSkyB to broadcast EPL matches live, against the use of foreign de- coder cards, and to criminal proceedings brought against Portsmouth licensee Karen Murphy for using a Greek de- coder card to show matches. The High Court referred ques- tions to the Court of Justice on the interpretation of EU law in each set of proceedings. In the opinion delivered last

week, advocate general Julianne Kokott said a “serious impair- ment of the freedom to provide


progress BII boss says reform process is helping new pub tenants

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The European Court of Justice will deliver its verdict in three months.

services” occurs if broadcast rights are marketed “on the basis of territorial exclusivity”, suggesting that restricting the reception of such broadcasts to certain countries within the EU is “tantamount to profiting from the elimination of the in- ternal market”. The legal adviser to the Euro- pean Court also suggested the exploitation of broadcast rights is “not undermined by the use of foreign decoder cards”. Murphy’s solicitor, Paul Dixon

of Molesworths Bright Clegg, said the way broadcasting rights for sports events are mar- keted is “likely to change be- yond all recognition” in future if “as seems likely, the Court of Justice follows advocate gen- eral Kokott’s opinion and finds in favour of our client in about three months”. BSkyB declined to comment, but the FA Premier League claimed in a statement that Kokott’s opinion was “not compatible with the existing


preview We trail the big events planned for this month’s hospitality exhibition

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body of EU case law and would damage the interests of broad- casters and viewers of Premier League football matches across the EU”. “If the European Commission

wants to create a pan-European model for sports, film and mu- sic then it must go through the proper consultative and legisla- tive process to change the law, rather than attempting to force through legislative changes via the courts, ” it said. The Scottish trade has long complained about the prices charged by BSkyB to show Scottish and English football in pubs, and called for more competition in the live football broadcast market. The prices have led many pubs to turn to foreign decod- ers, which provide access to matches at a greatly reduced

cost. But the use of such decod- ers has been a source of legal debate. The SLTA gave a cautions wel- come to the development. “In these extremely difficult times licensees need to look at alternatives to reduce their overheads and this latest an- nouncement will give some hope that such alternatives may be legally available,” it said. “The association recognises

that this is non-binding opin- ion based on whether a rights holder, such as the Premier League, can license its content on a country by country basis, and that we will have to wait on the official European Court of Justice ruling on this mat- ter later this year, but this sup- portive announcement will be welcomed by all in the licensed trade.”

The Old Forge Inverie, Knoydart

• Historical award winning West Coast pub. • Mainland Britain’s “remotest” pub. • Spectacular waterfront location (10 moorings). • Internationally famous bar/seafood restaurant with yachtsmen, walkers and sportsmen.

• Owners and staff accommodation. • Excellent trading profits and annual growth. • 20 minutes fast ferry from Mallaig. • Retiral sale after 20 years.

Offers in the region of £745,000

Contact: David Reid of Knight Frank on 07917 559 335 or 0141 221 9192


Picture: Court of Justice of the European Union.

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