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Anti-trust fines for Italian football rights deal

The Italian Competition Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato) has levied €66 million in fines to the Italian league (Lega Calcio) and its rights holders for fixing the sale of TV packages for Serie A.

Mediaset Premium TV was fined €51.4 million, sports marketing group Infront €9 million, Sky €4 million and the league €2 million.

According to the Authority, the league, instructed by adviser Infront, had supported a pre-arranged deal that effectively prevented other broadcasters from bidding successfully for the 2015-18 live rights.

The rights — assigned in 2014 — were sold to Sky and Mediaset for €943 million, an increase of €114 million over the previous deal.

The antitrust agency said the pre-arranged deal “precluded the entry of new operators” such as Eurosport, both for the present deal and for the future.

“The falsification of the auction is enough to affect negatively on the credibility of future auctions and therefore on the possibility of new bidders coming in, discouraging any competition,” the agency said in a statement.

All of the parties deny wrongdoing.

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