European Union interferes in EPL broadcast rights

The European Commission is reportedly working closely with British agencies to force England's Premier League to share television rights to top soccer matches with more than one broadcaster, those involved said on Monday.

The EU executive is trying to ensure rights will be shared among at least two broadcasters from 2007, when the current contract expires. The change would mean that satellite broadcaster BSkyB would no longer have exclusive rights to live television football coverage.

“We're determined to ensure that viewers and football fans benefit from more choice and improved access to Premier League games,” said Jonathan Todd, a Commission spokesman, as quoted by Reuters.

The Brussels executive is putting the finishing touches on a statement of objections, which lays out specifics against the Premier League. The Commission first told the league in 2002 that it was involved in price-fixing because it acted as the sole agent for TV rights for its member clubs, rather than letting them make independent arrangements.