Kirch's soccer ambitions might be offside

Cartel office says pay TV sales model is illegal

COLOGNE, Germany -- Leo Kirch's 3 billion euro ($4.7 billion) deal to market TV rights to Germany's Bundesliga soccer could be in danger following comments by Germany's cartel office that his planned sales model is illegal.

Kirch's firm Sirius and German soccer league the DFL had hoped to squeeze more money out of German pay TV and cable providers by giving them more exclusivity.

Free TV channels would have to make do with late-night highlight packages.

But on Thursday, cartel office president Bernhard Heitzer said he will block any deal that didn't include free TV highlights for primetime broadcasts.

Heitzer's play could kick Kirch's soccer deal offside. The DFL has threatened to pull out of the Sirius deal and go it alone. Sirius declined comment Thursday.