SPL clubs reach agreement on response
The SPL refused to divulge whether the clubs were prepared to accept a reduction in the £125million, four-year deal signed just last summer. But after Dundee United chairman Steven Thompson on Wednesday hinted he would be willing to do just that, it appears the wheels were set in motion for a renegotiated contract when the clubs met at Hampden on Thursday morning. An SPL spokesman said: "It was a positive meeting today, at which all 12 clubs agreed the way forward." Irish broadcaster Setanta are looking to renegotiate a number of contracts they have to screen sporting events due to cash-flow problems. Their current deal to show SPL games ends next term but last July they agreed a vastly-improved package over four seasons for exclusive live coverage from 2010. However the company, which won the rights to broadcast the SPL from the BBC in 2004, is now seeking to pay less to Scotland's top flight. United supremo Thompson told the BBC ahead of the Hampden summit: "I hope common sense prevails for the good of the SPL. We are where we are. "There is no point in looking to where we were last summer. We've got to move forward. It's a tough world out there." Setanta have run into difficulty since they failed to land a greater share of live Premier League matches during the most recent round of bidding. Some estimates suggest up to £20million could be lost to SPL clubs in a revised deal. The SPL's voting structure is such that eight clubs need to be in favour of any proposal for it to be passed. Motherwell manager Mark McGhee and Falkirk chief executive George Craig have already voiced their concerns at Setanta's intentions. However, PricewaterhouseCoopers football finance expert David Glenn has urged clubs to put any reduction into context, pointing out the Setanta deal due to come into effect from 2010 offered clubs just over £30million a year, double the amount of the current contract. Meanwhile, the SPL have announced the extension of their existing media deal with SPORTFIVE. The SPL will continue to partner the international sports agency for the marketing of the league's overseas broadcasting rights until the end of the 2013-14 season. SPL executive chairman Lex Gold said: "SPORTFIVE has proven to be a professional, reliable and successful partner. "This deal secures, and should increase, our international reach. "At a time of economic difficulty, we are delighted to do a deal that will bring in over £10million for our clubs between now and 2014."
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