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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July, 2003, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Football clubs split TV rights
Manchester United
Brussels is worried about English football
The UK's Football Association Premier League (FAPL) has increased efforts to prevent BSkyB from monopolising the televising of premiership matches.

Following pressure from the European Commission, the FAPL agreed to divide up one of its packages of media rights in order to entice other broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4.

But the Commission - which is already investigating the situation - has warned the action may not go far enough.

"If the [FAPL] goes ahead with the bids without having reached agreement with us, they do so at their own risk," said Commission spokesman Tilman Lueder.

New season

The splitting of the English league's broadcasting rights comes after Brussels suggested that new rules agreed with Uefa, the umbrella group of European football associations, should be used as a "template" in the UK.

Brussels says its new agreement with Uefa means that smaller broadcasters will be able to show Champions' League matches.

At present, BSkyB owns the media rights to all live premiership games.

The bids from broadcasters for next season are due on 28 July.

Analysts fear that BSkyB may still snaffle all the matches, even though the FA has now devised four separate packages of media rights.

The EU may find that unacceptable and could choose to intervene.

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