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    Chairman steps down from tribunal investigating Sky Sports access case

    This is a discussion on Chairman steps down from tribunal investigating Sky Sports access case within the Sky Sports forums, part of the Sky TV Channels category; Chairman steps down from tribunal investigating Sky Sports access case | Media | The Guardian Justice Barling to leave tribunal ...

    1. #1
      Scubbie's Avatar
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      Chairman steps down from tribunal investigating Sky Sports access case

      Chairman steps down from tribunal investigating Sky Sports access case | Media | The Guardian
      Justice Barling to leave tribunal considering whether Sky should offer sports channels to rivals at discount after Ofcom and BT raise concerns

      The chairman of the tribunal investigating whether Sky should be forced to offer its sports channels to rivals at a discount has agreed to step down from a rehearing of the issue, following a complaint over potential bias lodged by Ofcom and BT.

      However, the other two members of the competition appeal tribunal that delivered the original scathing ruling in 2012 – which concluded that Ofcom’s decision to force Sky to make Sky Sports 1 and 2 available to rivals at a 23% discount was flawed and unfounded – will reinvestigate the case.

      Last February, BT successfully challenged the 2012 ruling and the court of appeal forced the CAT to reopen the issue.

      BT and Ofcom contended that a new panel should be constituted,” the tribunal said on Wednesday. “Their objections to the original panel focused mainly on allegations of apparent bias.”

      The tribunal said that the chairman of the original panel, Justice Barling, would step down from the new investigation following “specific objections” .

      The complaint, made by Ofcom and supported by BT, centred on particular passages in a speech to a gathering of anti-trust lawyers made by Barling when he was still president of the tribunal in 2013.

      “We agree it is appropriate for the tribunal to have a new chairman if a re-hearing of the old appeals proceeds, and we will consider today’s decision carefully,” said an Ofcom spokesman.

      Barling said he felt “more comfortable” recusing himself but that it was a “borderline case” relating to comments in his speech and the timing of a Guardian article on Ofcom and competition regulation.

      The tribunal added that the objections in relation to Barling “provide no basis for the recusal of the other two members of the original panel”.

      The other two members of the panel are Michael Blair QC and Professor John Beath.

      Sky and the Premier League unsurprisingly backed retaining the same tribunal members.

      “The tribunal considered whether the fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the facts, would conclude that there was a real possibility that the panel was biased against BT and/or Ofcom or in favour of Sky/Premier League,” the tribunal said. “The ruling concludes that the objections raised by BT and Ofcom to the panel as a whole provide no grounds on which it would be appropriate for the panel to recuse themselves from hearing and determining the remitted matter”.

      The case returning to the CAT is the latest move as the legal wrangle enters its fifth year.

      The battle dates to 2010 when Ofcom first tried to force Sky to offer its two main sports channels at a discount to rivals to curb the broadcaster abusing its dominant position in the market.

      Following the CAT’s demolition of Ofcom’s attempt to impose a new pricing structure, referred to as “wholesale must offer”, in 2012, BT turned to the court of appeal.

      Last February, the court forced the CAT to reopen the issue, backing Ofcom by citing the existence of “significant competition concerns” in the pricing mechanism.

      In October, the supreme court rejected BSkyB’s request to challenge Ofcom’s powers to impose wholesale must offer at all.

      Then in November the CAT granted BT interim relief to broadcast the Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels via its YouView service for the first time while the wider case continues to play out.

      Ofcom is reviewing the wholesale must offer remedy in light of “developments” in pay-TV, which include BT moving to spend billions of pounds to crack Sky’s stranglehold on top flight sports such as Premier League and Champion’s League football.


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    3. #2
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      Re: Chairman steps down from tribunal investigating Sky Sports access case

      Ofcom is reviewing the wholesale must offer remedy in light of “developments” in pay-TV, which include BT moving to spend billions of pounds to crack Sky’s stranglehold on top flight sports such as Premier League and Champion’s League football.
      So yet another pathetic attempt to place an inadequate, temporary sticking plaster over a winning player in the gaping wound game that we all know as the loony capitalist system.
      Google will get severely caned soon.
      Just like microsoft did yonks ago - for being too successful.


      Hopefully one day this level of effort & concern etc will be directed towards things that actually matter in the world.

    4. #3
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      Re: Chairman steps down from tribunal investigating Sky Sports access case

      That will never happen. Just ask any ex-serviceman/woman why he/she hates civilian "team work".

      Getting back to the topic of the article, it is a shame that a judge, who is trained to be independent, should be regarded as biased before any decision can be considered. This means that someone has to be brought up to speed on everything that has already been put before the first Chairman and everyone has to repeat all their arguments all over again, wasting all the time and money spent on hearing everything the first time.

      Should Sky allow their direct competitors to have access to the content that they are producing so that their competitors can resell it to the very customers whom Sky want on their network? This is the argument. BT wish to force Sky to allow them to resell Sky's Sports channels to their customers and to be able to make a profit from the deal too.

      Of course Sky also dislike the interference from Ofcom on this matter. Do they have the right to dictate such behaviour?

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      Re: Chairman steps down from tribunal investigating Sky Sports access case

      That's the part i just don't understand.

      The rules of business are laid out for everyone to see & then when somebody wins, a governing body steps in & moves the goalposts to even things up again.
      I makes a mockery of all the bidding for rights that went on before.

      It's like burnt ecclescake saying "right, we can't have red bull winning every year so let's tweek the rules slightly to make them lose".
      Whilst giving no attention to the fact that the rules / system must be inherently flawed in the first place.

      If ofcom really wants to help the consumer, they should do something about the way the football rights are bid for.
      The only winners from the last premiership deal were the players & other folks in the game & they really need the money don't they?
      seawright likes this.

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      Re: Chairman steps down from tribunal investigating Sky Sports access case

      I know it has been discussed before but perhaps it's time to re-examine football transfer fees.
      A cap of £100M should be acceptable though that would be regarded by some (including me) as silly money.

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      Re: Chairman steps down from tribunal investigating Sky Sports access case

      What is happening to Sky is only what has happened to BT for years as other ISPs have tried to piggyback off BT's risk investment without incurring any capital expenditure themselves.

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      Re: Chairman steps down from tribunal investigating Sky Sports access case

      True in some ways FelixTCat, but Sky wasn't the first to broadcast football and are not the only Satellite TV Broadcasters in the UK.

      The simple fact is that BT want all the rewards without the expense of running all the channels that Sky do.

      They want to make a profit from Sky's hard work and nick all their customers too boot.

      Sure Sky, TalkTalk and many other ISPs have bee able to tap into the BTO infrastructure, but today the trunk cables are owned by a variety of companies, including Sky. The server farms are owned by the relevant ISPs. So the only piece that BTO needs to worry about is the exchange and local infrastructure, along with any trunk cables that they own.

      Sure BTO have been forced to allow companies to use their network. There is much that they still keep Sky & TalkTalk out of though.

      So yes these two issues might be similar, but they are not the same.

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      Re: Chairman steps down from tribunal investigating Sky Sports access case

      the only piece that BTO needs to worry about is the exchange and local infrastructure
      Fair enough, Scubby, but which is the most expensive part of any network? Ask all the bankrupt cable companies.

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      Re: Chairman steps down from tribunal investigating Sky Sports access case

      I think it is ironic that one of BT's main selling points for their TV service is access to some Sky channels.

      TomD


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