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Italian regulator orders investigation into Serie A allocation

MediasetItaly’s antitrust regulator has ordered an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the division of Serie A football rights between Sky and Mediaset for the 2015-18 seasons, according to local reports.

Sky and Mediaset are suspected of colluding to carve up the rights, freezing out rivals including Discovery-owned Eurosport.

Last year Mediaset at the last minute secured DTT rights to the matches of leading teams in the face of what it saw as a threat to allocate both major packages on offer to Sky. Serie A clubs agreed to allocate package A, with exclusive satellite rights to the matches of the eight leading teams to Sky, while package B, with DTT rights, went to Mediaset along with a package covering the matches of the 12 remaining teams.

In a statement, Mediaset said that the deal had been approved by regulator AgCom at the time. It said that no alternative broadcaster had submitted a bid above the price threshold for each package at the time, and that therefore such players could not have been discriminated against. It also argued that the sale of both major packages to a single player – such as Sky – would have been against the rules governing the central sale of rights.