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Mediaset in move to block free-to-air football initiative

Italy’s Mediaset has sent a warning to the country’s top-tier football league, Serie A, not to provide matches free-to-view when the season resumes on June 20.

According to local reports,pay TV operator Sky has shown willingness to respond to a call by sport minister Vincenzo Spadafora to make some matches available free-to-air by showing them on is own free-to-air digital-terrestrial channel TV8.

Sky had reportedly planned to air one or two matches on the channel, which would enable Italian fans with pay TV subscriptions to watch them at home rather than gather in bars to do so.

Streaming provider DAZN, which also holds rights to matches, has also showed willingness to air some matches in the clear, according to the reports.

However, Mediaset, which is likely to lose audience share if Serie A matches are aired on a rival channel, has intervened to stop the initiative on the grounds that it should also be given the right to air football in the clear.

The media group has reportedly threatened action to block all transmission of the matches in the absence of a specific government order regarding football transmissions.