KAREN Murphy’s court victory has been hailed by pub owners and managers as a huge boost for the future of their industry.
In tough financial times landlords have insisted the high fees demanded by Sky are hurting their businesses and praised the European Court of Justice for its decision to brand Sky’s UK monopoly unlawful.
Five Portsmouth pubs were originally prosecuted in 2006 by the Premier League for using an illegal decoder box to access Greek broadcaster Nova and bypass Sky completely.
In addition to Mrs Murphy’s pub, the Red, White and Blue, in Fawcett Road, there were also the Fifth Hants Volunteer Arms, in Albert Road, the Three Marines, in Highland Road, and the Meon Valley, in Meon Road, all in Southsea.
Also prosecuted was the Royal Exchange, in Fawcett Road, which has now had to close its doors for good.
The landlord of the Fifth Hants Volunteer Arms for 27 years, John Nash, said he was delighted by the result, but thought the story was probably not over.
He said: ‘Well I can’t see Sky taking it lying down, but this is good news for the average publican who wants to show football in his pub at a reasonable price.
‘I got rid of Sky a few years ago and haven’t had it back simply because it costs far too much.
‘Nova is a tenth of the price and that is big factor in such tough times when pubs are struggling and closing all over the country.’
The landlord of the Three Marines for nine years, Andrew Cornwall agreed and said: ‘She has won a victory for pubs everywhere.
‘Sky shouldn’t be allowed to have a monopoly on football in this country and it was definitely the correct decision for the court to take.
‘Now I’m sure anybody who has got Sky in their pub will eventually be getting rid of it.’