CHELSEA v Manchester United is one of the biggest games in English football.
But the Stamford Bridge clash in last season’s Premiership landed a Huddersfield pub licensee in court.
Liz Robinson was charged with using an Albanian TV satellite service to show the game in her Longwood pub.
But magistrates cleared her of dishonestly broadcasting that match – which finished in a 1-1 draw – and others.
Mrs Robinson, of the Rose and Crown, Longwood, was yesterday found not guilty at Huddersfield Magistrates Court of dishonestly using an Albanian satellite service to show English football games at the Thornhill Road pub.
The court heard Mrs Robinson’s employer Border Management had installed a ‘DigitAlb’ receiver to show games during the 2008/09 season.
The DigitAlb service, which is licensed to show English Premier League Games in Albania, is available from internet stores from as little as £230 for 12 months – compared to £1,228 for an official Sky Sports pub package.
But DigitAlb is not licensed for broadcast in the UK.
The maximum penalty for using an unlicensed service to show Premier League games is £5,000. A licensee, if found guilty, may be stripped of his or her licence.
The court heard Mrs Robinson, 55, had been warned verbally and in writing by a Sky Sports inspector following visits to her pub.
The pub had been showing unlicensed coverage of the Chelsea v Manchester United game in September 2008, with Ji-sung Park scoring for United and Salomon Kalou replying for Chelsea, and an Aston Villa v West Bromwich Albion game on January 10, Huddersfield Magistrates were told.
But Mrs Robinson told magistrates she had been reassured by her boss that he was dealing with the problem and the pub was allowed to use the DigitAlb service.
Mrs Robinson added she had not been responsible for the installation of the foreign equipment.
Acquitting Mrs Robinson, chairwoman of the bench Margaret Atkinson said: “We cannot be sure there was any element of dishonesty on the part of Mrs Robinson.
“It was clear Border Management was in control and processed documents centrally.
“We are sure she was given reassurance from her employer.”
Outside court Mrs Robinson said: “I’m very pleased with the verdict today.
“It’s tough enough in the pub business today.
“The TV service never even dragged people into the pub because it was so unreliable.”