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Last Updated: Monday, 24 October 2005, 18:53 GMT 19:53 UK
League bosses hopeful on TV deal
Everton vs Chelsea
BSkyB currently has exclusive live Premiership TV rights
Premier League officials hope they are nearing "an amicable resolution" with the European Commission over the next deal for rights to television coverage.

The EC had set Monday as a deadline for the League to clarify how it intends to ensure a "viable and meaningful" share of live top-flight matches.

Initial proposals had been deemed "unacceptable", with the EC keen to see more than one broadcaster involved.

The current deal, in which BSkyB holds all the live rights, expires in 2007.

And a compromise over the make-up of the next deal, which will cover the 2007-2010 seasons, is now more likely following constructive talks last week.

It is understood the League is proposing to offer six packages of 23 matches each, with no single broadcaster permitted to buy more than five.

If the EC is satisfied with the League's clarification of certain aspects of the intended bidding process, then those balances should form part of the final proposal to be submitted to the EC for Commissioner Nellie Kroes' approval.

The fact that BSkyB has done a good job for the Premier League is not really going to interest the EC at this point
Howard Lacy, Hermes Sports Partners

She said last week 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.

BSkyB, ITV, NTL, Channel Five and the BBC have all indicated they are considering bidding for the rights.

"The fact that BSkyB has done a good job for the Premier League is not really going to interest the EC at this point," Howard Lacy of Hermes Sports Partners told the BBC.

"It wants to see more than one provider."

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