Norwich snooker club pockets new members after showing Norwich City’s match with Manchester City when other pubs could not

A Norwich snooker club has pocketed scores of new members after Norwich City fans desperate to see their club’s clash with table toppers Manchester City discovered it was one of the only places showing the game.

Pubs throughout Norwich have been cashing in on the Canaries’ return to the Premier League this season by purchasing foreign decoders to screen the games.

But instead of seeing live coverage of City’s 5-1 beating at the league leader’s Ethiad Stadium on Saturday regulars at pubs using the Via-Sat satellite system found themselves watching a recorded screening of Manchester City’s match with Liverpool at Anfield last month.

The problems led to confusion in pubs and clubs across the city with groups of Norwich fans going from venue to venue trying to find somewhere that was showing the game.

Dozens of fans poured into Rileys snooker club in Magdalen Street during the first half of the game after finding out they were showing the match.

Simon Carpenter, manager of the club, who revealed they had between 40 and 50 new members join on the day, said: “We had the best part of 300 people on Saturday - I did notice there were lots of people coming in during the first half but I didn’t know why.”

It later emerged that the game was not being shown on the normal Premier League channel of the Via-Sat system, but was being shown on a different channel with foreign commentary.

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Mr Carpenter, who has two Via-Sat boxes, said: “If the pubs had looked they would’ve found it.”

Roger Cawdron, landlord of the Ribs of Beef pub on Wensum Street, said there was a packed pub of people expecting to see the Norwich game on Saturday.

He said: “It was very, very strange because we had the early game and we had the one after the Norwich game came through but we actually watched the recording of Manchester City playing Liverpool last week.

“We didn’t see any of it (the Norwich game). People were walking back from different pubs to try and find out who was showing it but everyone was in the same situation.

“We actually ended up watching it on a computer. One of the customers had his laptop and we just all stood watching it on that.”

A spokesman for Via-Sat said there had been a “technical issue” with some of the games over the weekend but added they were trying to resolve it in the next 48 hours or so.

As the Evening News reported in October The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in favour of Portsmouth landlady Karen Murphy, who had been using a foreign decoder to screen Premier League matches.

The court said an exclusive system of licences for the broadcasting of football matches in different EU countries - effectively stopping fans watching the broadcasts with a decoder card in other member states - was “contrary to EU law”.

The Premier League, the rights owner, however claimed a partial victory as the ECJ stated it maintained the copyright for some sections of the broadcast.

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