Bad News for SPFL – Court Allows £1.75 Million Damages Claim Against SPFL to Continue

The Inner House of the Court of Session has today upheld the decision of Lord Woolman in the case of the SPFL v Lisini Pub Management. The full decision can be read here.

In terms of this decision the Court has upheld the dismissal of the action brought by the SPFL to prevent the defender, which owns various pubs, showing SPL/SPFL football matches via a Polish decoder and for damages for breach by Lisini of an undertaking not to do so.

This case follows that where the English courts referred a similar dispute to the European Court of Justice and as Lord Woolman noted:-

“Put short, the ECJ found that clauses prohibiting the use of foreign decoders and smart cards were void. They constituted a restriction on competition and the [free competition] provisions of European law prevailed over the 1988 Act.”

Lord Woolman’s decision was challenged by the SPFL but this appeal has failed.

The action raised by the SPFL sought to prevent Lisini acting unlawfully by using the Polish decoder. Once the ECJ ruled that it was not unlawful to use such a device, then the court order sought by SPFL to prevent that unlawful act fell. An interdict is only competent against an act which is or would be unlawful.

Probably even worse for the SPFL is the decision of the Court too to allow the counterclaim by Lisini for damages to continue. Lisini claims damages of £1,761,749 from the SPFL on the basis that the interdict granted against Lisini in 2007 was unlawful and that Lisini has suffered losses as a result of that unlawful court order being granted.

The SPFL tried to have the counterclaim dismissed as not representing a valid legal claim. This failed.

The court ruled:-

[78] … The ECJ’s decision was that a particular type of obligation (namely an exclusive territorial licence granted to a broadcaster containing terms preventing the broadcaster from distributing decoder devices such that the broadcast could be accessed by viewers outside the particular territory) was, by its very nature, injurious to the proper functioning of normal competition in the internal market (unless other circumstances falling within its economic and legal context justified an alternative conclusion, which it would be for those seeking to uphold the restriction to establish: cf paragraphs 140 and 143 of the decision). …

[79] In the present case, there is no need for a particular averment by the defenders about what inter-state competition might be affected. The member states involved are obviously Poland and the United Kingdom, both members of the EC. Further the defenders offer to prove (admittedly on a “believed and averred” basis – with which the pursuers take no issue at this stage) that the restriction imposed by the contractual chain between the pursuers in the United Kingdom and Polsat in Poland, is that Polsat’s standard terms when supplying a decoding device must restrict the use of the decoding device to the territory within the Republic of Poland. We consider therefore that the defenders have averred sufficient to support a claim that the contractual chain described in paragraph [6] above was, by its very nature, injurious to the proper functioning of normal competition for member states. As the Grand Chamber said at paragraph 140:

” … where a licence agreement is designed to prohibit or limit the cross-border provision of broadcasting services, it is deemed to have as its object the restriction of competition, unless other circumstances falling within its economic and legal context justify the finding that such an agreement is not liable to impair competition.”

[80] Thus in terms of the ruling at page 102 R1 of the English Premier League case, such contractual arrangements by their very nature amount to “a restriction on competition prohibited by art.101 TFEU”. Accordingly we agree with Mr McIlvride that, in the context of any contract connected with that contractual chain, all that would be required of the defenders would be to aver the type of contract which by its very nature restricted normal competition, without the need to specify in any detail facts that would tend to show that the restriction would have an “appreciably injurious effect” on the market. It would be for the pursuers to “put forward any economic and legal context of such clauses that would justify the finding that … these clauses are not liable to impair competition and therefore do not have an anti-competitive object” (paragraph 143 of the English Premier League case).

We therefore consider that the ruling of the Grand Chamber in the English Premier League case applies with equal force to the undertaking, such that it is deemed, by its very nature, to have an injurious effect on normal competition within the internal market. Alternatively the defenders seek to establish that, because of the ex hypothesi void condition in the agreement with Polsat, the undertaking, on a proper analysis, would not have prevented them having the access to broadcasts which they wished to have. On either basis, they thus seek to establish inter alia that the interim interdict pronounced against them was, insofar as based on the undertaking, wrongfully obtained.

This decision is one which makes clear that the present model where the SPFL prevents (or tries to prevent) matches being seen on TV in Scotland from foreign broadcasters is doomed to fail. It also places in jeopardy the contracts the football authorities presently have with broadcasters. If a pub can show matches sourced via another broadcasters for less than the cost payable to Sky, then that is surely simply an example of the free market in process?

It will, I am sure, be greeted by the SPFL as a decision which could impoverish the football clubs as less money will be paid for rights to cover football.

However it could in fact provoke more of an auction, with foreign bidders looking to profit from having the rights and legitimately selling them to Scotland.

It almost certainly means that the SPFL will appeal to the Supreme Court, even if only to delay matters, and of course the decision does  not say that the counterclaim is in any way justified, rather that it is still an issue which the court has to decide. The counterclaim has the potential, if successful, to bankrupt the SPFL. And it falls upon the SPFL to justify the purported restraint of trade, rather than for Lisini to say that is was unjustified.

It is clear that in Angels in Uddingston and in other pubs around the land, there should be popping of champagne corks today at a notable victory, and one achieved in the face of overwhelming opposition from the football authorities and satellite broadcasters!

Posted by the Harry Hood Fan Club!


Filed under Civil Law, Courts, SPFL v Lisini Pub Management

749 responses to “Bad News for SPFL – Court Allows £1.75 Million Damages Claim Against SPFL to Continue

  1. R. MacGeddon

    The £10m is Craig preparing Ally’s war chest for next season.

  2. Raymilland

    This stripped down vocals is feckin brilliant.

    And also quite relevant :)

  3. Monti




  4. Raymilland

    G’ night all

  5. Ian4300

    Sorry willy you lost me.

    What has that to do with Sevco 5088?

    Your not trying to change the subject, are you?

  6. Cam,

    Is your life really so sad that you find the need to spend so much time on here?
    Get out there and live the life, get a half priced or even quarter by now season book. Your peepul need you!

  7. Ed Paisley

    My good God – Strach is bringing back Kris Boyd to the Scotland squad. To be fair Boydy was good at poaching goals against third rate opposition but he was never a good footballer.
    He wasn’t even worth a decent wedge from the EBT scam – Boydy only got £215,000. That’s only enough for 450,000 packets of monster munch.
    The words; scraping, bottom, barrel spring to mind.

  8. hector

    Good morning to you all. Looking through the last couple of days posts it looks like the failure of a sense of humour is not just confined to the head orcs at Ibrox. St Peters wee joke fair got the orcs foaming at the mouth and howling at the moon and brought the same club stooshie back to the fore. If the orcs do believe they are the same club then a throwaway remark should be like water off a ducks back. It is the uncertainty that they are in fact a new club that leads to this perma rage and the if in doubt lash out mentality. I see we don’t do walking away Willy walked away to the relief of many but within 24 hours he is back. Not sure if he is the same Willy or in fact a newco Willy as these orcs do like their name changes. Our very own member of the constabulary OD reckons Mr Whyte now has the funds to stick it to sevco in the courts which begs the Question how are the spivs going to pay their legal bills? Only a month till the AGM ,the share price not far off the all time low , civil war continues to rage in Mordor and the spectre of Craigy boy still owning the assets .

  9. Some cracking reading last night regarding Worthingtons, Law, and wee Craigy.
    How about this for a wee take on things.
    No court case! The spivs walk away prosecution free, after handing the keys to wee Craigy, who then puts the rebels on a new board.
    The spivs have been paid off. The rebels are on the board without putting a penny in. And wee Craigy gets his rent and six seats in perpetuity.
    The CF docs cannot be taken as evidence at the moment, but if wee Craigy turns up in court with the originals in his back pocket, they will be! A court case would be an open and shut job. Bearing in mind they are all working together, what would be the point?
    A bit of PR has Craigy enduring mucho slander but maintaining quiet dignity while working hand in glove with the rebels to shaft the shafters!
    Wee Craigy will be back shoulder high, reputation intact. And the money shot…..A £10m kitty!
    Ding ding. Round 2. Another share offer,and a hike in SB prices.

    • Clarkeng

      @Busted by Barca
      Just thinking ahead about your new name.
      Yes you are right….there will be no court case…..wee Craigie will be sorted out by Co House for his various misdemeanors.
      I read this afternoon all the theories advanced by Inspector Clueno our resident polis and the various ejaculations and o’dees at the thought of him being on the money.
      Quite humorous but no wonder the crime rate amongst you lot is rising when the standard of edumacated investigatory plods show themselves to be totally overawed by the evidence.
      Quote David Low ” you can put anything on these forms”.
      There is no £10m in Sevco 5088.
      Worthingtons shares remain suspended.
      The money lent to Craigie £250k in unsecured notes will be paper used to try to bolster some other dying co probably Law whatever.
      It wont be real money.
      I hear the sound of bubbles bursting loudly again just like the FTTT, gratuitious alienation and LNS.

      • @Clarke.
        I say there won’t be a court case because either (a) Craigy won’t run with a load of fake docs, or (b) Chicco won’t appear if the docs are legit, because he is on a hiding.
        But think on this. If Chicco thought he was in the right and owned the lions share, he would still be there, waiting tohear Zardok. A greedy Bee doesn’t flee the hive with his big ‘ands flapping.
        But either CG or CW could have provided incontrovertable proof of ownership at any stage. They never!….Why?….Because, and there is plenty to suggest it, they are in bed together!
        Chicco and his cronies have had their ample reward.
        Now it is Craigy’s turn! And he will take it. Remember he was the guy who put his head on the block to save you/make himself rich.
        There are other routes for him to pursue, but why waste wonga in court. A legal route will be open to him to claim ownership through the myriad structure. Chicco will not contest it.
        They are still buddies. Sevconians have been suckered! Timmy has not.

        • Clarkeng

          @Busted Stuff
          Barca ……naw …….naw…..naw.
          Don’t have time at the moment but will come back to you on this later today with the likely scenario.
          Bubbles bursting…..kites flying…….
          You guys are doin the hope bit to death.
          But here is a wee question for you… ra Sellik AGM……….
          Why was Big Des no there…….does he no like the “little people” or was he in Gibraltar coontin his dosh?
          And a group of fans tried to ask an awkward question on “the real worth of Sellik Fitba Club” and were poo poo’ed ….told we don’t discuss things like that in public.
          Another cover up?? …..if you know the history…. ra Sellik are famous for them.
          But was this really the masterstroke played by the coyote to prevent the debt position being discussed ….sounds like Monktonhall Colliery Ltd all over again.
          Think his wee jibe was to take the heat out of things.
          So how successful do you consider a business which has fixed assets of £51m and which has raised £61.5m in share capital plus £9.5m in convertibles which gives a total of £123m but which is only worth at todays value £32m.
          And with huge mortgages falling due for repayment shortly which have only had the interest serviced over the terms.

          • That you tryin to change the subject again, dinnae botha clarkybhoy cause we’re keepin the boot on that scrawny throat until your either cured or the new club joins the old club in the trash can.

            Have a very hoopy day indeed.

            • Clarkeng

              @Whimmy Jite
              Whits that auld fairy tale……ah’ll huff ….and ah’ll puff…….
              But in real life that’s no whits happening ….is it?
              In real life the best fannies in the hole world have been told tae shut ther puss and don’t be questionin the coyote.
              Oh the other thing that is real life is that the season efter next we’ll be back up and ready to go.
              See you soon………we’ll probably pass each other ….us on the up………youse on the down………just like Monktonhall…….eh?

          • @Clarke
            Likely scenarios is it noo. Ha ha ha ha ha. I could make up a hunner of those myself thank-you. Like Sevco losing its bottle, or the most obv that big Peter called it spot on.
            Let’s stick to facts instead with nae whatabootery.
            Sevco said it would complain to the appropriate authorities. I see no record of it with the SFA.
            Maybe they complained to customer services at pound world where they bought it.
            I’ll busy myself flying my kite while you search for a link to the complaint.

            • @Clarke
              Nae link then?
              Can you see my kite from there?
              It’s on a really long string but I can reel it in at my leisure.
              Go on. Get on the blower tae Lunny-Lingus. Hammer the last nail in. Lol.

            • Clarkeng

              @stube crabar
              When the apology is announced ….does it mean the cry from over there will be “sack the board”……again!!
              Myself….I think you already know the truth………it had to happen………he needed to buy himself some space and knew he would have to apologise.
              Weasel words are cheap.
              Lunny will still go for him …….and it will be a big fine.

            • hector

              Campbell Ogilvie EBT – £95,000.

          • hector

            “The club has been done in by reckless mismanagement , some large dollops of arrogance and hubris and what seems to have been a wilful disregard for the laws of the land in terms of tax paying”. Life long Rangers fan Grahame Speirs.

        • @Clarke.
          I have scanned the SFA website, and I can’t find any sign that Sevco have complained about big Peter calling you impersonators.
          Is the website needing updated, or has the complaint not been made yet?
          Surely you are not gonna leave it at that! You realise that if this statement stands, it is confirmation that the real Rangers are deid.
          If you are just gonna surrender and walk away, I will have to put in the complaint
          Anybody got Lunny-linguists number?

          • Clarkeng

            Mibbes the apology has already been offered on the quiet and the accepted graciously??
            Saving the coyote’s face might be in our long term interest.
            The way things are going wee Timmy is going to be suckered dry.
            I can hear Big Des singing Gibraltar,,,,,,,,,Gibraltar……….a wonderful town!!!

          • Sevco United

            Was the apology not issued through Neil Lennon? Im sure i read yesterday that he still considered Sevco to be the old Rangers.

            Was this a back-door way out ?

            • Sevco United

              I wasnt talking about the papers though because as you say, they talk nonsense. I was meaning a direct quote from Neil Lennon about Rangers taking longer to get back to they “way they used to be” in terms of competing against Celtic in the SPL.

              Clearly, he feels they are the same club. Or he has been told to say that to try and issue a back handed apology.

            • iantm

              Hello TROLL.

              I’m sure I read that The SEVCO SHAMBLES was really RANGERS in disguise too.

              The papers are full of pish ain’t they?

  10. Last of the easterhoose mcgeechans

    One flew east one flew west and one flew over the cuckoos nest

  11. JimBhoy

    Howdy folks in catch up as usual… Celtic linked with a couple of new signing,nice one…
    Rangers melt down continues… Has Ticketus set the rent yet for next season? Not a bad bit of business invest in a few thousand seats to be paid by the SB money and end up owning not just ALL the seats but the big hoos, a prime piece of carpark land and a large training facility…

    Any club linked will Lee Wallace yet? Gonna be a tough xmas/NY for the gers fans.. HH

  12. mick

    Not long now lol hail hail

  13. Monti


    On a scale of 1 – 10, how dead is original rangers ?

    Aaaaahhhhhaaaaaaa \ o /

  14. Ed Paisley

    This must be what they call the lull before the storm. The interim, acting, temporary Chairman has taken his short term position and we are now waiting for the Inverclyde criminals to lock horns with the Clyde Blowers blowhard (and that floppy haired bloke who was the mail boy at Deutsche Bank).
    Let the battle commence – my money is on Ron and Reg to tighten their grip on Sevco because the blowhard ain’t going to open his big fat wallet.

  15. tamtic

    Check David Lindsay in the Times, what planet is he on? He’s banging on about the Rory eleven and their history. What history? They only started last year. Playing and pandering to the huns support methinks. Cam, shut up about cancer , Mick was man enough to apologise and you should be man enough to accept that No scoring points on something so awful.

  16. Just seen these on the net. :-)

  17. Raymilland

    Another smashing night at the Louden.

    Gives a new meaning to meet and greet.
    Jorge and Nacho never spilled a drop in the back seat ;)

  18. lordmac

    glad CELTIC are looking at the big picture, and planing to build a new stadium in the carlisle area, witch will serve as a new team known as CELTIC NATION this team will play in england for a few years till the time is right for us to up sticks, where we will play the top english teams,
    and will be able over night to double our support, no matter what away park we travel too, the guys from scotland will follow there team no matter where we go, and also the lads from liverpool and manchester will follow celtic they will swap there old scarfs for us, the name CELTIC Nation football club, will be unstoppable, we can bid the SFA sweet farewell
    when all is in place, and then allow the RANGERS SUPPORT some time so as they might get a chance of some honors in scotland. well done CELTIC dont let the buggers get you down

  19. tamtic

    Clarky, Jeez oh man! your a real investigative journo. how the hell did you learn that info about big Pete and his coal mine (no, don’t laugh) and all the while Sir Minty, wee Craigy (God bless him) Chucky and every other carpetbagger was screwing your club into the ground. Where were you when Phil was telling everyone what was going on? You could have given him a hand in exposing the crooks. Oh well, too late now.

    • Clarkeng

      You know this is not real life………..don’t you?
      Because some bam puts it on here that Rangers have been stiffed for £60m does not mean its true.
      Sure there will have been a wee bit dodginess but nothing on the scale of wee Fungus and his £32m profit straight out of ra Sellik Fitba Club.
      Or Big Des, Mr Riley et all and their 6% per annum in perpetuity…… free of course!!
      And as for Phil the reason he fled Baillieston was because of debt and the fact that the Auld Hoose widnae serve him any nerr.
      Even the tic fans were fed up with him.
      Ask yourself the question why is ra Sellik only worth £32m per the published accounts………..where did all the money go and where is it still going.
      Looks like Big Des is losing interest now he is increasing his share in the Irish media…….mibees efter the scandal over Haughey’s boat he thinks it is time rebuild his reputation
      Him and wee Craigie would make fine bedfellows……….in the biblical sense that is ………..heaven forbid anyone would think I was suggesting anything else.

  20. Winston Smith

    Rumour has it that the rumours regarding BDO are all true. So I’m told. All of a sudden, Sevco 5088 has a thousand fathers… lol

    tick tock tick tock tick tock

  21. willy wonka

    Lego eater, captain of the team, takes another off the ball kick at a player IN A FRIENDLY !
    What a dumpling.

  22. tamtic

    Excuse me lads I’ve just had to change my pants after reading clarky’s reply to my earlier post. He described the goings on at Ibrokes as a “wee bit of dodginess” Ha Ha HA. ,and yes I did wet myself.The investigative genius that he is started quoting figures he obviously trawled the net for, and then has the cheek to cast aspersions on Wee Fergus, who told everyone exactly what he would do and then proceeded to do just that. If your mob had anyone half as good they wouldn’t be in the terminal mess they are just now.

  23. Last of the easterhoose mcgeechans

    Well done Gordon & Broonie, well done Scotland , we seem to be doing better since the govan mob withdrew their support,

  24. Raymilland

    Nostradamus Prophecy 10

    There will be peace, union and change. Estates and offices low (are) high, those high (made) very low: To prepare for a journey torments the first offspring, War to cease, civil processes, debates.

    Amen ;)

  25. Eastside

    I see Peter Lawell has issued an apology.


    Ha ha h, he he he he!

  26. BigL

    Scotland coefficient must be going up a notch or two now.
    less CL qualifiers for the Bhoys.

  27. Gortnamona

    What is Ireland’s purpose?

    Are you really that stupid little man?

    Ireland exists to give yourself and the rest of the Protestant/Orange Racist Sectarian Bigots an object to vent their hatred on.

    Otherwise your lives would be without meaning.

  28. lordmac

    it now look certain, that should Scotland get Independence, the Glasgow Celtic will be playing in England with a name change and will known as CELTIC NATION .FC .LTD. they will have built a new stadium from lottery funds, and investors it will have a seating capacity for 100,000
    it will also have Olympic outdoor and indoor running Tracks and also have 2 Olympic swimming pools there will be a retractable roof, and plenty hospitality suites, licensed bars and betting facilities it will be sited out of town in a 100 acre site 2 mile from carlisle , there where plans proposed for a Supper Casino but the board has rejected this stating
    that Supper CASINOS would likely cause hardships, and lower the tone
    of a supper sports arena. Celtic park would be used by the Glasgow Corporation, THROUGHOUT THE WEEK,AT COST, AND THE UNDER 21 TEAM WILL HAVE IT EVERY SECOND WEEK for 50 years the fee will be indexed linked and all scottish football Semi and Finals will be played there, and a few rock consorts.when arranged.Lennoxtown will be used for Youth Development BARROWFIELD WILL BECOME THE SUPPER HUB FOR ITS SUPPORTERS and most buses will leave from there. we would wish Rangers all the best. as we would have far too many irons in the fire.

  29. portpower

    41.50p — is that a new record

    sevco dust off that defibrillator FC

    • Clarkeng

      It is not as low as ra Sellik went……they toppled to 30p before coming back to circa 36p for 6 plus years.
      Don’t be worrying …season after next we will be back up and things will be fine.
      Looking forward to seeing you already.

  30. Paul

    Dave King told to explain in court for what reason Easdale had assualted him,”i asked him to demonstrate what he meant by clippies used to punch tickets”.

  31. John Clarke

    So Sevco have appointed a new CEO for the club and as a director on the board of RIFC…..Got to love the statements they come out with..

    “”I watched from afar as the Rangers support came to the club’s aid during the times of turmoil and now it is the turn of the board and management to provide the stability and governance to drive Rangers’ recovery forward and ensure further football success,” said Graham.

    So the fans came to the clubs aid…..really?

    Ranger’ recovery……from DEATH???

    Nothing like a bit of spin to keep the lie rolling.

    It is dead! DEAD!! DEAD!!!……

    He has joined a NEW business not the old LIQUIDATED one….

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