Premier League coverage begins this week with much the same quota as last season. That means there will be three live games per week on average and this week sees five consecutive nights of live Premier fare from Saturday to Wednesday. A new wrinkle to this year's Cable commitment is a promise to show every single one of Manchester United's games either live or on tape, most of them live. This is only good commercial sense bearing in mind the club's Treble success and burgeoning popularity here. The league kicks off with Chelsea v Sunderland tomorrow. And with it begins the viewers' game of adjusting to all the new faces. That's followed by a delayed showing of Watford v Wimbledon. Monday night sees Tottenham v Newcastle, live from White Hart Lane. United make their first appearance in the live Sunday match form Goodison and will be seen again on Wednesday night at home to Sheffield Wednesday. Last week's verdict in the OFT's restrictive practices case against the Premier League, BSkyB and the BBC was hailed as a victory for fans and the traditional values of the game. That may have been over-romanticising things but one interesting point did emerge. The Premier League refuted charges that it operates a cartel in the matter of TV rights neg-otiations, which is not in the public interest. In its defence, the League claimed that a verdict against it would undermine the league's structure and widen the gulf between rich and poor clubs. But it failed to mention its strongest suit - i.e. the contribution the league makes to the clubs. The fact is that the clubs derive a huge amount of their perceived value from the context of the league in which they operate. Without the league, what would the clubs be? The Premiership, and before it the Football League First Division, imparts quality to the clubs who compete in it. That alone legitimises what the OFT claim-ed was a cartel. It also explains why the big clubs themselves did not instigate this case. On another note, for those familiar with British TV, it was sad to see Des Lynam, the BBC's grey-haired Mr Cool of sport for 30 years, has defected to the rival ITV to be a front man for their sports programming.