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Setanta 'on brink of administration'
Published : 07 Jun 2009 14:49:52
Deloitte are on stand-by to act as administrator for the firm unless they agree a last-minute rescue with their investors, the Sunday Times and the Sunday Telegraph have claimed. The Irish firm, who televised England's 4-0 World Cup qualifying win away to Kazakhstan on Saturday, are struggling to pay cash owed to football associations under their rights deals. Setanta - which was unavailable for comment - has about 1.2 million customers but this is well below the 1.9 million they need to break even, according to the Sunday Times. If the company fail to cut their rights payments or raise more cash from investors and fall into administration, it could trigger a fire-sale of TV rights, including the England national team's away qualifiers and FA Cup matches. ITV and Setanta won the contract from the Football Association in 2007 before the recession hit, impacting on advertising revenues. The FA are said to have rebuffed attempts by Setanta to reduce their £150million share of the £425million four-year deal by 25%. Setanta also have rights to screen matches from the Barclays Premier League, who are awaiting a £35million payment later this month, the Sunday Times claimed. Last week they failed to pay the £3million owed to the Scottish Premier League under the final instalment of this season's TV deal, and have until Monday to come up with the cash. They have also been seeking to cut the price of their current £125million deal with the SPL, who have agreed to pay the £3million outstanding from funds to their 12 member clubs to ease the financial pressure. The two founders of the business, Irishmen Michael O'Rourke and Leonard Ryan, set up Setanta in 1990. Deloitte were unavailable for comment.