Licensees at more than 60 pubs face prosecution for screening Premiership football via foreign satellite systems so far this season, writes John Harrington. That’s according to Ray Hoskin, boss of Media Protection Services (MPS), which investigates foreign satellite football screenings. “In the first three weeks of this season we’ve accumulated in excess of 60 prosecutions,” said Hoskin. “Applications are being made for summonses in the next few days. The first appearances probably won’t be until October.” Hoskin declined to discuss what proportion of the licensees who faced prosecution used broadcasts from within the EU. A letter from MPS to licensees, reported in the MA last month, said screenings via domestic cards and systems based outside the EU would be targeted this season. This suggested hosts who use cards from EU countries could temporarily escape prosecution until after licensee Karen Murphy’s case is heard at the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Hoskin said: “We are still collecting evidence in the same way. The cases haven’t been affected by Murphy.” Murphy’s solicitor Paul Dixon, of Molesworths Bright Clegg, said: “No criminal proceedings should be brought against licensees who subscribe to legitimate EU satellite television services while Karen Murphy is waiting for her case to be heard by the ECJ. “Mr Hoskin and those he represents should be challenged to state in unequivocal terms whether they have commenced or intend to commence criminal proceedings in relation to legitimate use of EU-based satellite against licensees since Lord Justice Burnton and Mr Justice Barling referred Murphy’s case to the ECJ.” Meanwhile Kent licensee Graham Martin has been fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £800 costs for screening Premiership football via North African channel ART last season. Martin, of Maidstone’s Cooper’s Cask, pleaded guilty to breaching copyright law at Sittingbourne Magistrates.