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SPL seeks new broadcasting deal
Published : 22 Jun 2009 15:41:31
SPL chiefs took the step after broadcasters Setanta failed to make their outstanding payment of £3million. The move comes just three days after the English Premier League terminated their contract with the Irish broadcaster when they were unable to make a £30million payment. SPL executive chairman Lex Gold said: "Setanta has been unable to meet our extended deadline for the outstanding £3million payment to the SPL and, in terms of the notice previously issued, our British broadcasting rights for season 2009/10 and beyond revert to us. "We are now actively engaging in the process of selling our domestic broadcasting rights for next season and beyond." Gold added: "Setanta missed the deadline for the £3million that we set for them. "We set three deadlines and we wanted to work with Setanta who have been a great partner of ours. "They have spent £60million in supporting Scottish football and our board were determined to give them every possible chance to work through the problems that they had. "That process has been lengthy and intensive but the deadline today was the final deadline so our right reverted to us as of 3pm today. "So we are now in the market for selling those broadcasting rights for next season and beyond." Gold continued: "We aim to do that as quickly as possible given that start football season starts on August 15. "That needs to be carried through quickly. "We have not been able to get in to formal discussions because the rights have been with Setanta. "But I believe that, in sporting terms, we have the most valuable sporting product in Scotland and Scotland is important to broadcasters, so I remain pretty hopeful that we will deliver an early outcome." Gold claimed to be confident of reaching the same sort of figures that had been promised by Setanta. The new deal that was to start at the end of next season, had been negotiated would pay the SPL £125million over four years. Gold said: "I don't accept that we will have to take a reduced fee. "We have a product that is valuable in the market place and we will be seeking to see that value covered. "What I am saying is that I think the market beleives that our right have a value and we will see where we get to. "I have made informal approaches to no one. "The clubs have been kept up to date on a regular basis so they are able to make prudent decisons. "But I believe the clubs recognise the value of the rights we have and feel comfortable that they we will see a return on that." Gold admitted the SPL will be seeking recompense from Setanta. He said: "We had built in to the contract safeguards so we had guarantees that we will now be pursuing. "The lawyers are in the process of doing that. "But I would hope there would be no court case, our relationship with Setanta has always been very good." Gold refused to concede that the decision to forego a possible deal with Sky to go with Setanta last summer was a mistake. Rangers, Celtic and Aberdeen were in favour of opting for Sky but were outvoted. Gold said: "Twenty-twenty hindsight is brilliant. "You have to deal with the circumstances in front of you. "Last year the board decided that we should go to the market place early. "We still had two years of our contract to go and there was a judgement to make. "We attracted two very good deals and the clubs made a judgement call on that and at that time it looked a good deal. "Those clubs (Rangers, Celtic and Aberdeen) were clear that it was a balanced judgement on the best information that we had. "It was a tightly run issue between Sky and Setanta. We are now looking for the best deal for the SPL. "I would be hugely surprised if we don't have a broadcast or broadcasters in place for the start of the season, August 15. "I would expect to enter negotiations within days."