Pubs score with ruling on showing live Norwich City games

With 3,000 supporters snapping up all the tickets for Norwich City's match away at Premier League big boys Chelsea, there would normally be plenty of people disappointed to be missing the match.

However, this year there is a new option for Canaries fans who aren't among the lucky ones to get tickets for their side's Premier League adventure.

A court ruling earlier this year means many pubs in Norwich are advertising that they are showing City's home and away games on their big screens.

This has come about because a pub landlady in Portsmouth took her bid to beam matches via a feed from Greek television all the way to the European Court of Justice.

There she defeated the Premier League's claim that pubs were not allowed to screen subscriptions to foreign coverage because the court decided this would go against European Union law.

Now pubs in Norwich are promoting their coverage of the most famous football league in the world.

Two of the most popular bars in Prince of Wales Road in Norwich, Rocco's and Pulse, both part of Mercy nightclub's owner Steve Peri's group, are screening City's home and away games this season.

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Operations manager Toby Middleton said: 'It's good news for everybody and a good investment. But I don't want people thinking we're making thousands out of this.

'We make a profit, but it's not hundreds of thousands or anything. It will take us two or three seasons to start recouping our money on this subscription.

'But it's legal, it's viable and it's good news.'

The cost of Sky Sports subscriptions for pubs is based on the rental value of the property and bigger premises can be faced with charges of more than �1,000.

But pubs using European decoder cards to screen Premier League games from abroad can pay less than �100 per month, after a one-off installation payment costing around �800.

Foreign countries are not restricted by UK laws preventing televised games clashing with traditional 3pm kick-offs – such as City's match at Stamford Bridge today – and pubs can show whichever matches they want.

However, not all pubs have taken the plunge. The Murderers on Timberhill, says it will await a new judgement on the case expected in early October before weighing up the potential of new restrictions.

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