As a landlord am I able to show Premier League matches live from a foreign channel?

Matches Scheduled to be shown between 3 and 5 pm on a Saturday

Premier League and Football League matches which are scheduled to be played between 3 and 5 pm on a Saturday afternoon are not legally allowed to be shown on television as provided for by the Broadcasting Act 1996.

This is due to two main factors:

  1. To encourage people to attend the actual match
  2. To encourage people to play and be involved at grass roots football which usually kicks off at a similar time on a Saturday

Often pubs try and get around this provision however by showing matches which are screened by satellite in other countries.

What is the current position in the way which football broadcasts are shown in the UK?

The Football Association Premier League (FAPL) Ltd is the organizational body which both owns and runs the English Premier League. It is made up of all the clubs involved in the Premier League and most importantly owns the rights to broadcast the Premier League matches.

These rights are then sold to companies such as BskyB and ESPN in order to be able to show the games live, to create highlights of the matches and to create packages to sell to foreign audiences. Foreign broadcasters will then pay these companies for these packages and the ability to show the games abroad.

Viewers in the UK will then be charged to subscribe to these services. If a pub or other licensed premises wishes to subscribe to this service they will have to pay an amount which is significantly higher than that paid by individual households.

How do some pubs get around this?

Certain companies sell specific equipment to UK pubs which allows them to watch the foreign feeds of UK matches without having to pay the subscription to the UK licensees of FA Premier League matches – Sky and ESPN.

This equipment is in the form of decoder cards which enables the encrypted feed sent to the foreign stations to be decoded and shown in the UK.

This in turn enables pubs to show matches without subscribing to either Sky or ESPN.

Unlock this article now!


For more information on:

  • Is this illegal?
  • Breach of Copyright
  • Illegal Decoder Equipment
  • Is selling rights to football matches exclusively a breach of Competition Law?