Last updated : 05 August 2004 By editor

This from the Press Association:

‘The Premier League are about to embark on a new three-year contract with BSkyB which (has) irked the EC because of its exclusivity. After winning all the tenders for live coverage, BSkyB were then told to make eight games available to a second broadcaster, only for no organisation to meet the reserve price.

‘Senior figures within the EC are known to be unhappy with the situation and it is thought they could demand changes to the negotiating process when the new deal comes up for renewal. That would either mean more broadcasters bidding for a slice of the collective rights, or clubs being allowed to sell their own, as is currently the case in Italy and Spain.

‘And, having assessed the damage such a situation has done to Serie A and La Liga, Gerry Boon, a partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte and Touche, believes it is a position that has to be avoided at all costs.

‘"Any further regulatory attempt to artificially prevent exclusivity by, for example, forcing individual selling by clubs would be a recipe for disaster - not just for broadcasters and football clubs but also for fans and consumers," said Boon.

‘"It would be wrong to try and use football as the tool to shape the European broadcast market. Fortunately we are starting to see strong signs that sense will prevail and regulators now apparently recognise collective selling is the glue that holds football together."’