Man hit with £6000 fine for showing Sky Sports football matches illegally

A man has been ordered to pay more than £6000 after being caught showing Sky Sports football matches in a pub, without having a valid commercial viewing agreement.

Mark Clennell, the designated premises supervisor at The Wheatsheaf in Houghton le Spring, Tyne and Wear, was slapped with a £6273.46 fine when he was convicted of two offences of “dishonest reception of a television transmission” at Sunderland Magistrates Court on September 19.

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Sky Sports is only allowed to be shown by pubs that have a commercial viewing agreement from Sky Business − indicated by a pint glass symbol that appears on-screen.

The case was brought by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), which has warned that anybody caught showing Sky broadcasts without a commercial viewing agreement risks similar action or a criminal prosecution.

“It’s important to us that businesses are aware of the consequences of showing Sky Sports illegally – it is a serious issue that is damaging to the pub industry, and those licensees who choose to televise content in this way should be aware that they are at high risk of being caught and face substantial penalties,” said George Lawson, Sky’s head of commercial piracy.

“We actively visit thousands of pubs every season to monitor the games they are showing and continue to support FACT’s work to protect hardworking Sky customers who are unfairly losing business due to this illegal activity.”

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“These cases should send a clear warning to pub owners and licensees who show Sky broadcasts without a commercial subscription,” added Stephen Gerrard, FACT’s prosecuting manager.

“If convicted, fines for this offence are unlimited and you may have to pay substantial legal costs, as well as putting yourself at risk of having your licence suspended or revoked.”

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