France's Loi Evin, which restricts the display of advertisements for alcoholic drinks, has come under attack from an unlikely source, a case at the European Court of Justice involving Newcastle United Football Club.

The north-east England team - locally known as the Magpies - is fighting legal action brought by Bacardi-Martini and Cellier des Dauphins. Bacardi and Cellier claim they lost money when Newcastle's management programmed revolving touchline hoardings to display their advertisements for only 1-2 second intervals.

This was during a UEFA Cup tie against French team Metz, which was televised in France. Newcastle claimed it had to restrict the advertisements' exposure to comply with the Loi Evin.

The case brought by Bacardi and Cellier des Dauphins at the UK High Court has now been referred to the ECJ, where judges will consider whether the law breaks EU free trade rules regarding the alcohol advertising at sports events and sports broadcasting in France involving drinks ads.