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Friday, 3 May, 2002, 22:17 GMT 23:17 UK
ITV Sport to go off air
Millwall v Birmingham play-off semi-final
Rights to screen football league games due to run out
The ITV Sport channel is to close on 11 May following the collapse of ITV Digital.

Football League rights for the channel, which did not go into administration with the digital broadcaster, expire on that day.

Talks are taking place to decide the future of the 44-strong workforce.

Other sports shown by the channel will be screened on ITV2 once it goes off air

ITV spokeswoman Nicola Hewson said the news would not affect existing plans to screen the Second and First Division play-off finals.

She told PA Sport: "The timing of this is such that we will cease broadcasting once the football season is over, and the Second Division play-off final between Brentford and Stoke will go out on ITV Sport.

"The First Division play-off final was always going to be played on ITV1, and that remains the case."

Rugby World Cup

ITV Digital went into administration in March after admitting it did not have the money to pay the remaining 178.5 for its three-year contract to show Football League games.

Subscription channels on ITV Digital went off air earlier this week, while ITV Sport became one of its free-to-air channels, which are still available for those who have set-top boxes.

Champions League games, the Rugby World Cup and Tour de France coverage are expected to go to ITV2, which is a free-to-air digital channel.

A spokesman for ITV said: "It means that instead of just 200,000 subscribers seeing these sports, they will be available to seven million homes which have access to digital TV."

Boss quits

A statement from ITV said: "Consultation between the ITV Sport Channel and representatives of the channel's 44-strong workforce started this week.

"The company will meet all employees on a one-to-one basis from next week.

"All other employment opportunities within associated companies will be fully explored as part of the consultation process."

Earlier this week, ITV chief executive Stuart Prebble announced he was stepping down following the failure of ITV Digital.

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