German soccer league defends Kirch deal

DFL says it will challenge cartel ruling

COLOGNE, Germany – The German soccer league, the DFL, has moved to defend its 3 billion euros ($4.7 billion) marketing deal with mogul Leo Kirch, attacking a decision by media watchdogs that the agreement violates German competition law.

The DFL on Friday said it would take legal action against Germany's cartel office if it goes ahead with its threat to torpedo the Kirch deal.

The cartel office said it would block any agreement that does not provide German free-TV channels with same-day game highlights for primetime soccer shows. That would undercut the financial basis of the DFL-Kirch deal.

"The hurdles for German soccer keep getting higher," said Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, DFL board member and CEO of top local club Bayern Munich. "It's becoming harder and harder to stay internationally competitive."