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England fans risk £1,000 fine during the Euros over little known TV Licence rule

England fans risk £1,000 fine during the Euros over little known TV Licence rule

Rules are rules, just don't fall foul of them when cheering on the Three Lions

Euro 2024 is finally here and with it, a £1,000 warning for Brits tuning in to watch any of the football.

Millions of England fans will be cheering on the Three Lions as they kick start their campaign on Sunday night (16 June), with Scotland also facing off against Germany tonight (14 June) in the tournament opener.

But how - and where - you watch the game could determine whether you're accidentally putting yourself at risk of breaking the law and in line for a four figure fine.

It comes as a warning from a lawyer has also been issued to fans about why you really shouldn't pull a sicky the morning after England's opening fixture against Serbia. It could cost you a lot more than a day's wage.

And another costly warning is on the cards for those watching the games from Spain, this time with £500 penalties coming your face for cheering on the boys in very specific circumstances.

With three games a day for the first week or so of the competition, kick off times are taking place from 2pm UK time during the group stages.

For many, that'll mean casually tuning in to watch the big games during the working day from your office or place of work.

Herein lies the problem so listen closely.

TV Licensing rules when you watch live content outside of your home (Getty Stock Images)
TV Licensing rules when you watch live content outside of your home (Getty Stock Images)

TV Licence and the £1,000 mistake

TV licensing rules in the UK are very specific, with small nuances meaning the difference between breaking the law and not.

That's certainly the case here.

You have to pay for a TV Licence if you want to watch live events, which will include Euro 2024 with games broadcast on ITV and BBC - with millions expected to tune in via the BBC iPlayer and ITVX.

But for those watching in the office, this is where things start to get a little tricky with a fine of one grand potentially hitting your bank account for getting it wrong.

Millions will cheer on England via the iPlayer (Carl Court/Getty Images)
Millions will cheer on England via the iPlayer (Carl Court/Getty Images)

The law explained

First thing is first. You can watch or stream live content in your place of work as long as the device you're watching it on belongs to you.

You must also have a valid TV Licence for your home, with it seen as an extension of the licence you personally hold for your household.

But things change as soon as you plug the device in if the battery starts to run low. As soon as you plug it in to a main's socket at work, you are required to have a separate TV Licence for the building you're in (unless your office has one, then happy days).

So if you tune in to Romania vs Ukraine next Monday at 2pm, better check your device battery levels before watching.

Don't break the law cheering on Harry and the boys (Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Don't break the law cheering on Harry and the boys (Stu Forster/Getty Images)

What does TV Licensing say?

TV Licensing says: “If your device is not plugged in (ie you’re watching or recording live TV programmes on any channel, or downloading or watching BBC programmes on BBC iPlayer, using devices powered solely by internal batteries) you will be covered by your home TV Licence.

“If you plug your device into the mains, you’ll be covered if that property already has a TV Licence. Otherwise, you’ll need to buy a separate TV Licence for that property.”

It adds: "You could be prosecuted if we find that you have been watching, recording or downloading programmes illegally. The maximum penalty is a £1,000 fine plus any legal costs and/or compensation you may be ordered to pay."

A TV Licence currently costs £169.50, so you might want to make sure your battery levels are decent enough before streaming live.

Featured Image Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images/Getty Stock Images

Topics: BBC, Crime, Euro 2024, Football, ITV, Money, TV