Court date set for Red, White and Blue verdict

Picture: Pierandrea Guarnieri

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PUB landlady Karen Murphy has been told the outcome of her historic legal case will finally be decided on February 24 next year.

It will mark the end of a six-year battle with Sky and the Premier League over whether she can show football matches in the Red, White and Blue pub, in Fawcett Road, Southsea, using a cheap foreign channel.

In May this year the European Court of Justice ruled in favour of Mrs Murphy in the dispute, but now the UK High Court also must approve the decision and settle some aspects of copyright law.

Her lawyer Paul Dixon said they hoped it would simply be a matter of ‘rubber stamping’ the EU court’s verdict.

The decision could then cause a major shake-up for the Premier League, whose exclusive agreement with Sky in the UK was described in May as being ‘contrary to EU law’.

Mrs Murphy’s case was referred to the EU court after she appealed against the decision to prosecute her – and four other Portsmouth pubs – for using a Greek company called Nova to bypass the hefty fees charged by Sky.

She had been taken to court for breaching copyright law and ordered to pay almost £8,000 in fines and costs.

But the landlady argued that the European Union’s laws on the free movement of trade and services meant she should be entitled to buy her live football from any EU country she wanted, so the case was passed to the EU court for consideration.

Now the UK’s High Court will need to rule on whether pubs must seek the league’s permission to show foreign broadcasts because graphics, music and highlights are protected by copyright.