EC - Sky must loosen grip on Premier games

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Related tags: Premier league, Sky sports, Ec

by John Harrington The European Commission (EC) is to send the FA Premier League a statement of objections to Sky's dominance of live football. The...

by John Harrington

The European Commission (EC) is to send the FA Premier League a statement of objections to Sky's dominance of live football.

The Football Association (FA) has already agreed to allow a second broadcaster to show games after Sky's current deal with the FA ends in 2007.

However, the EC wants no one broadcaster to screen more than half of the 138 live Premiership matches each season. The EC said Sky's rivals must have the opportunity to bid for a decent number of games.

The EC has already received a report on the impact of Sky's current dominance of live broadcasts from UK media regulator Ofcom.

The EC and Ofcom both declined to reveal the details of the media regulator's report. But articles in the media suggest that Ofcom has told EC officials that whoever holds the rights to Premiership games should sell a number of matches to rival broadcasters.

The Premier League declined to comment on reports that it is trying to ensure that alternative broadcasters are only allowed to screen a small number of games.

Possible bidders for the extra games include Setanta Sports, which has already secured the rights to the Scottish Premier League.

All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group chairman John Grogan said: 'I fully support the EC in its determination to break Sky's monopoly of the Premiership TV market in the UK.

'I think the Commission is serious about ensuring that a substantial proportion of Premier League fixtures are either on free-to-air channels or pay-per-view channels.

'This can only be good news for pubs that would then have an alternative to paying exorbitant prices for Sky.'

Related topics: Sport, Licensing law

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