EU OKs English Premier League live rights auction.
The English Premier League's auction of broadcasting rights to live soccer matches was fair and did not break any competition undertakings, the European Commission said on Wednesday.
The Commission was concerned that BSkyB had long held exclusive rights, prompting years-long haggling about auctions between the EU's top antitrust body and the Premier League that achieved resolution only in March.
Under that agreement, the Premier League, which features teams such as Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, had to separate the rights between at least two broadcasters.
European Union competition spokesman Jonathan Todd said an independent trustee had confirmed to the Commission that the three auctions held so far met the terms set by Brussels, but he noted more auctions were still to come.
"On the basis of a report by an independent trustee, we have concluded that the auction of the live match rights was conducted in accordance with the undertaking given by the Premier League and made legally binding," Todd told a briefing.
At the beginning of May, the Premier League awarded BSkyB four television rights packages, with the two remaining packages going to Irish pay-TV broadcaster Setanta.
"We welcome the European Commission's confirmation that the independent monitoring evaluation found our auction process has been conducted in a proper fashion," said Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the FA Premier League.
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