Though it has already been pointed out that ending Sky’s monopoly on Premiership coverage provides no guarantee of cheaper prices or any games appearing on free terestrial stations, the European Union has dealt the Rupert Murdoch satellite service a kick in the teeth. Or a kick in the dish. Whatever.

From the Guardian’s Julia Day.

BSkyB’s 14-year dominance of live TV coverage of the Premiership is officially over, after the European Union today confirmed new arrangements for selling media rights to top-flight English football.

Sky has enjoyed a lucrative monopoly over the pay-TV rights to broadcast live Premiership football matches since the league was set up in 1992.

“The solution we have reached will benefit football fans while allowing the Premier League to maintain its timetable for the sale of its rights,” said the EU antitrust commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Ms Kroes’s office said the new commitments, starting from the 2007-08 season until the end of 2012-13 , “will increase the availability of media rights and improve the prospect of competition in providing services to consumers”.

“The commission could impose a fine amounting to 10% of FA Premier League’s total worldwide turnover if it breaks its commitments,” she added.

Under the EU deal, the league will have to divide coverage into six TV packages of equal content – and no broadcaster will be able to bid for more than five of them.

The SPL’s Hearts Of Midlothian have sacked manager Graham Rix. Though this is sad news for the former Chelsea star, he should have plenty of free time to continue his efforts on behalf of young people.

Only an 86th minute goal from Steve Cherundolo spared the US from complete humiliation against Germany earlier today in Dortmund. 4 second half goals for Jurgen Klinsman’s side were an explicit illustration of the gulf in class between the two teams ; this was as hopeless, as tacticly impotent as any American squad has looked in Europe, and that’s saying a lot.

Chelsea are about 10 minutes away from a trip to the FA Cup Semi-final ; John Terry’s 4th minute strike being the only goal thus far in this evening’s quarterfinal duel with Newcastle.