Pubs and bars may be able to show cheaper foreign TV services after the European Court of Justice ruled that selling broadcasting rights on a territorial basis breached EU law.
The case was launched by Portsmouth landlady Karen Murphy, who was fined for screening English Premier League matches via a Greek pat-TV decoder at 3pm on a Saturday.
In a statement the ECJ said that granting territorial exclusivity on a member state basis was contrary to EU law.
Broadcasters in Britain pay higher fees for the Premier League rights than broadcasters in other parts of Europe.
International rights for live Premier League football raised over £1b, while BSkyB and ESPN paid a combined £1.78b for the British broadcast rights.
The ECJ statement added: "National legislation which prohibits the import, sale or use of foreign decoder cards is contrary to the freedom to provide services and cannot be justified either in light of the objective of protecting intellectual property rights or by the objective of encouraging the public to attend football stadiums."
By James Stagg
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