Last November the regulator opened an investigation under section 25 of the Competition Act 1998 into the joint selling arrangements by the Premier League for live, UK audio-visual media rights for Premier League football matches.
It followed a complaint by the Liberty Global owned cablenet that was followed up last week by a bid to suspend the auction until Ofcom had completed its investigation.
In a statement Ofcom said that having considered the application, and submissions from Virgin Media and the Premier League, Ofcom it did not consider there was an urgent need to suspend the auction “There will be a significant gap, of around 17 months, between the auction and the start of the 2016/2017 season when broadcasting of the relevant matches will commence. In the event that Ofcom’s investigation concludes that there is an infringement, Ofcom has the necessary powers to require the Premier League and Premier League clubs to make changes to arrangements for the broadcasting of matches within the time available before the start of the relevant season.”
In its submissions to Ofcom, the Premier League has stated there was no basis for Virgin Media’s assertion that Ofcom would be constrained in its ability to intervene post auction.
Ofcom says it is on course to publish a further document in March 2015.