The BBC, ITV or Five will have the chance to air live Premiership games from the beginning of next season after a deal was struck between the European Commission, the Football Association and BSkyB.

The BBC, ITV or Five will have the chance to air live Premiership games from the beginning of next season after a deal was struck between the European Commission, the Football Association and BSkyB.

The agreement follows an investigation by officials based in Brussels into how satellite broadcaster Sky won all four of the Premier League football packages for 2004 - 2006.

From next season eight "high quality" Premiership will be sublicensed by Sky to another free to air broadcaster. This is seen by people close to the deal in Brussels as something of sop being offered by Sky to the Commission to ensure that it does not completely lose out in the bidding for a new package from 2007 onwards.

Brussels also investigated whether the original procedure created by the FA for the current deal was fair and open and allowed rivals to Sky a proper chance to bid for the Gold, Silver and two Bronze packages on offer.

The Premier League has now promised that from 2007 onwards at least two broadcasters will be able to show Premiership games. The FA has said that no one TV channel will be able to buy the rights to all live games and also accepted that the Commission's competition experts will be able to examine the conditions for the next round of auctions to ensure competitors to BSkyB are not excluded.

However, the move is sure to irritate Sky, which is likely to table a smaller bid for rights from 2007 now the exclusivity has been eroded.

Brussels competition commissioner, Mario Monti said: "By creating opportunities for broadcasters other than BSkyB now, and even greater opportunities in the future, the Commission is aiming to increase consumer choice in the UK.

"For the first time, there is a real opportunity for free-to-air broadcasters to provide their viewers with top flight Premier League action throughout the season."

The Commission will now take soundings from other broadcasters before finalising the deal early next year.

A spokesman for the Premier League said; "This agreement meets the Commission's competition concerns and strikes a balance between the needs of fans and broadcasters while retaining the value of our rights. This announcement leaves in place all of the deals agreed for the next three years."

The Commission's investigation of the FA's current Premiership deals follows an earlier investigation into the selling of TV packages by the German FA, the DFB.