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Last Updated: Friday, 21 October 2005, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
EU sets Premier League deadline
Manchester City v West Ham
BSkyB currently has all the TV rights to Premiership football matches
The European Commission has given England's Premier League until Monday to outline how it will ensure at least two TV broadcasters show live games.

BSkyB currently has exclusive rights to show live Premiership matches.

The Commission has threatened legal action unless the league opens out the rights for the next live contracts, which will run from 2007 to 2010.

The Premier League has promised since December 2003 that it will not sell future rights to a single bidder.

It would be no good if one broadcaster claimed 99% and the other only 1% of the matches
Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd

Talks on the issue have recently been held between the Premier League and the Commission, but it appears they have so far been unable to agree on what extent the live matches are shared out.

'Viable share'

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said on Friday that she wanted the contracts to be sold in such a way that "at least two broadcasters each obtain a viable and meaningful share of the live match broadcast rights".

"It would be no good if one broadcaster claimed 99% and the other only 1% of the matches," added Commission competition spokesman Jonathan Todd.

Premier League boss Richard Scudamore recently outlined a plan to sell five packages of 28 games each, with no firm allowed more than four packages.

Yet such a system would still allow one firm, such as BSkyB, to potentially control 80% of live games.

Other broadcasters said to be weighing up making a bid for 2007 to 2010 contracts are NTL-Telewest, Channel 5, the BBC, and ITV.

The Premier League has so far resisted suggestions that no one broadcaster should be allowed to own more than 50% of games - saying this would discourage potential bidders.


SEE ALSO:
Sky set to lose football monopoly
18 Oct 05 |  Business
Rival soccer rights bid 'planned'
12 Oct 05 |  Business
NTL looks at Premiership rights
05 Oct 05 |  Business
Premier boss looks for TV support
26 Sep 05 |  Business
Scudamore reveals concern over TV
25 Sep 05 |  Football
EU closer to Premier League move
12 Sep 05 |  Business


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