Police applied for a court order to close outlets near the Manchester City football ground on Saturday (Mach 3) under Section 88 of The Licensing Act, requiring the pubs to close for 12 hours in the run-up to the home game.
Although magistrates blocked the plan, they did not rule out further applications on the days preceding matches.
It is feared police are likely to seek closures in the run-up to all major matches. Police aim to prove that "riot or tumult", as specified in the Act, has occurred at the last two matches.
Licensees say they stand to lose thousands of pounds.