- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

ROME (AP) - Italy’s antitrust authority handed out 66 million euros ($75 million) in fines to the Italian league and its rights holders Wednesday for fixing the sale of TV packages for Serie A.

Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset Premium TV was fined 51.4 million euros ($58 million), advisor Infront 9 million euros ($10 million), Sky 4 million euros ($4.5 million) and the league 2 million euros ($2.3 million).

The agency said 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 euros (slightly more than $1 billion) per season, 114 million euros ($130 million) more than 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.

In October, Milan prosecutors placed Infront’s Italy branch president Marco Bogarelli and two associates under investigation for “alleged manipulation” over the deal.

Infront is run by the nephew of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter.


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