Outlook: Karel Van Miert

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The Independent Online

KAREL VAN MIERT just cannot seem to keep his hands out of other people's business The EU Competition Commissioner plainly thinks it would be quite gut-wrenching should BSkyB be allowed to take over Manchester United

Legally, Mr Van Miert generously concedes, there is no way he can intervene since this is a matter for the British competition authorities But he has received a number of letters from fans and he feels there is a problem Sport has its own specificity, he advises the man who will be taking the decision, Peter Mandelson And this "must be fully recognised"

Unfortunately there isn't much evidence of this happening on the Continent, where Silvio Berlusconi is allowed to own AC Milan and Canal Plus controls Paris Saint Germain without complaint Still, nobody else seems prepared to speak up against Rupert Murdoch, least of all the British Government Mr Van Miert is better than nothing