European Commission presses to end BSkyB monopoly

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The Independent Football

The League was reacting to comment from the European Commission, which suggested that the sports body was trying to wriggle out of a commitment to break up the monopoly enjoyed by BSkyB over broadcasting live top-flight English football.

The next three-year package on offer will run from the 2007-2008 season. Last time Sky paid £340m a year, or more than £1bn over three years for all the rights. The broadcaster declined to comment on the latest developments yesterday but an industry source said: "If Sky loses exclusivity, the clubs will lose millions of pounds, maybe hundreds of millions of pounds."

Sky has used exclusive football rights as a major draw to subscribers. The Commission was furious that Sky got all the packages on offer last time - the auction was split into main bundles of games in an attempt to create competition for the rights but in the event Sky simply bid high for each of the packages and won them all.

This time Brussels is determined to put in place a mechanism that guarantees the loss of Sky's monopoly, concerned that consumer choice was suffering.

* Reform of the Football Association has moved a step closer after the board of the governing body agreed to form a team to push through the proposals made by Lord Burns in his review, including a slimmed-down board and giving the FA more control over its own affairs.