Italy antitrust body rejects Mediaset claims against Sky Italia

MILAN Thu May 9, 2013 2:48pm EDT

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's antitrust authority, AGCOM, has rejected claims by Mediaset that pay-TV rival Sky Italia abused its dominant position in buying exclusive UEFA and World Cup soccer rights, the regulator said on Thursday.

In a statement, AGCOM said Sky Italia, a unit of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, had acquired 2012-2015 rights for the Champions League of the Union of European Football Associations after a competitive process.

The competition watchdog said exclusive rights on the World Cup tournaments in 2010 and 2014 held by Sky Italia did not hinder competition because they are held once every four years.

The regulator had started its inquiry back in 2010 after complaints by Mediaset's unit RTI.

Sky had sold to RTI the rights to two of the three Champions League seasons with the approval of UEFA, the antitrust authority said.

(Reporting By Danilo Masoni; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)