OFT decision on Sky deal is imminent

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Related tags: European commission, Sky sports, Sky

The Office of Fair Trading is expected to rule this month on a complaint by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers that Sky has abused its...

The Office of Fair Trading is expected to rule this month on a complaint by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers that Sky has abused its dominant position in Premiership soccer broadcasting. The ALMR, which surveyed 100 members before lodging its complaint, is expecting an OFT verdict by the middle of the month. The political heat on Sky was dramatically increased last month when the European Commission ruled that Sky had to allow eight games to be shown live on terrestrial television from next season. ALMR chief executive Nick Bish said: "[The EC ruling] demonstrates the profile of this issue generally." Anger among licensees at Sky subscription costs reached new levels after an 18% rise in August. l A Sky subscriber has hit out after a mailshot from the company offered a free Premiership Plus card ­ costing £400 at the start of the season ­ to pubs taking out a new subscription. Wayne Clayton, of the Branston Arms, Burton-on-Trent, who is paying £5,530-a-year plus £400 for his Premiership Plus card, said: "Sky is taking its existing customers for mugs. If Sky is giving the Premiership Plus card away, the company should have offered us something to soften the blow of paying out that kind of money." A spokesman for Sky said: "Like many companies, Sky runs special offers from time to time. The free season ticket is just one offer Sky has decided to trial for a limited period.

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