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Italian regulator issues fines over Serie A rights auction

Italy’s antitrust authority, l’Autorità Garante del Mercato e della Concorrenza, has issued fines totalling €66m ($75.3m) in the case surrounding the 2014 sale of rights to Serie A, the top division of domestic football. The Mediaset Premium pay-television operation of media company Mediaset has been fined €51.4m alone.

The regulator issued its sanctions yesterday (Wednesday) having already notified Lega Serie A, the Infront Sports & Media agency, Mediaset and pay-television broadcaster Sky Italia that their behaviour during the auction process for Serie A media rights constituted a breach of European competition law.

The December findings came after a seven-month investigation into the June 2014 sales of the rights for the period 2015-16 to 2017-18. The authority opened the investigation after the Lega ignored the outcome of its own auction, splitting the main live packages between pay-television broadcasters Mediaset and Sky, despite Sky having outbid Mediaset for both.

Mediaset was issued with the largest fine. Sky has been ordered to pay €4m, the Lega has been fined €1.9m and Infront, its media rights adviser, has been handed a fine of €9m.