Press and Information Division


8 May 2002


Bacardi-Martini et Cellier des Dauphins

Bacardi-Martini SAS and Cellier des Dauphins are companies governed by French law carrying on the business of manufacturing and marketing alcoholic beverages. Newcastle United Football Club Ltd ('Newcastle') is a limited company governed by English law; it owns and manages a football club and a football ground.

Under an agreement concluded in 1994 between, on the one hand, the Football Association and a number of football clubs, including Newcastle, and, on the other hand, Dorna Marketing (UK) Ltd ('Dorna'), Dorna was responsible for selling and displaying advertising around the touchline of each of the clubs' pitches for each home match played by the clubs' first teams.

Dorna sold advertising time to Bacardi-Martini and Cellier des Dauphins on its revolving electronic display system during a match between Newcastle and Metz, a French football club, to be played on 3 December 1996 in the third round of the UEFA Cup.

That match was to be televised live in the United Kingdom and in France. The advertisements which were to be displayed during the match complied with the requirements of English law.

Shortly before the start of the match, Newcastle became aware that Dorna had sold advertising space to Bacardi-Martini and Cellier des Dauphins with the aim of displaying adverts for alcoholic beverages during the match. Newcastle therefore instructed Dorna that, as the match was to be broadcast by a French television channel, the French regulations restricting the advertising of alcoholic beverages (Loi Evin) would be applicable and that Dorna must therefore remove the claimants' advertisements from its advertising hoardings in order to comply with those regulations.

As the advertisements in question could not be removed from the rotating hoardings before the match began, the display system was programmed in such a way that those advertisements appeared for only 1 to 2 second intervals during the match. The match was broadcast live on the French television Canal+.

On 23 July 1998, Bacardi-Martini and Cellier des Dauphins commenced proceedings against Dorna and Newcastle in the High Court (England and Wales), Queen's Bench Division, seeking damages and injunctive relief. The claims against Dorna were withdrawn.

The High Court referred the following questions to the Court of Justice of the European Communities:

Are the Loi Evin provisions contrary to the principle of freedom of services in so far as they prevent or restrict (a) the advertising of alcoholic drinks at sporting events taking place in Member States other than France when the events are to be televised in France and (b) the broadcasting in France of sporting events taking place in other Member States at which there is advertising of alcoholic beverages?

The hearing in the present proceedings will take place in plenary session at 10.30 a.m. on 14 May 2002. A report for the hearing will be available in the language of the procedure (English).

If you want to participate, please send the annexed form by fax before Monday, 13 May 2002, 12.00 a.m. to the Press and Information Division of the Court of Justice -
fax number: 00352-4303-2731.


Please note the following;

* the use of mobile phones or other loud electronic devices is not permitted during the hearing;

* the public is requested to remain quiet and seated throughout the hearing or ceremony;

* photography and filming are authorised only at the very beginning of the hearing (seating of the President and parties only);

* the use of flash or supplementary lighting systems is not permitted;

* if numerous photographers and cameramen are interested, a "pool" may be arranged by the Press and Information Division;

* photographers and cameramen may not move around the hearing room in order to take photographs or to film;

* press are asked to use the Thomas More entrance, Boulevard Konrad Adenauer.



Accreditation to be sent by fax to: 00 352 4303 2731
Contact: Ms Zaïra Penders
Tel: 00 352 4303 3127



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In principle, your application will be accepted, unless you are otherwise informed by the Court.