Issue is over World Cup broadcast rights

Italy’s antitrust authority has launched a probe into Rupert Murdoch’s pay TV platform Sky Italia for allegedly abusing its market position when it bought soccer World Cup 2010 and 2014 broadcast rights earlier this year.

The investigation was prompted by a complaint in May by rival Mediaset, the broadcaster controlled by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The authority said in a statement that the probe would be completed by November 2011.

Sky Italia said that it was surprised by the decision given that Sky Italia had transmitted the 2006 competition in a similar manner without raising antitrust questions.

It also noted that some of this year’s World Cup matches were shown on other Italian channels, even though Sky Italia held the broadcast rights.

This latest spat between Mediaset and Sky Italia comes amid a price war between their dueling payboxes.

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