The Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission has today followed-up on statements made by Commissioner Monti (26 Jan 2004) and by Herbert Ungerer (10 Dec 2003), by launching a formal sector inquiry relating to the sale of sports rights to Internet and 3G mobile operators.

The European Commission is particularly concerned about possible behaviour by sports organisations (e.g. football leagues) amounting a refusal to supply content to new media distribution channels such as ISPs and mobile operators.

Concerns are also raised about the bundling of TV rights with new media / 3G mobile rights, the existence of embargoes favouring TV coverage over new types and coverage or the purchase of new media / 3G mobile rights on an exclusive basis.

The full text of the European Commission's announcement can be accessed by clicking here.