Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Monday, 15 June 2009 13:43 UK

Premier League's Setanta deadline

Action from Manchester City v Bolton Wanderers
Setanta is reported to owe the League more than 30m

The English Premier League has told Setanta if it does not pay the reported £30m it owes by Friday, 19 June, it will lose its games for next season.

The league has threatened to sell the rights to the 46 live matches Setanta is supposed to be showing in the 2009/2010 season to the highest bidder.

Setanta has been struggling to make its payments to the sporting bodies from which it buys television rights.

However, Setanta reopened its website to new subscribers on Monday.

'Securing future'

In a statement on its website Setanta said: "All of our channels are still broadcasting across all platforms and our subscribers can continue to enjoy our programming.

SETANTA'S SPORTS
English Premier League
Scottish Premier League
Blue Square Premier
IPL cricket
US PGA Tour golf
Magners League rugby
Guinness Premiership rugby (from 2010/11 season)
Boxing

"We are taking subscriptions from new customers... both online at www.setanta.com and at our call centres."

It added: "As has been widely reported in various media channels, Setanta Sports and investors are in the process of securing the future of the business."

Setanta has around 1.2 million subscribers, but that is short of the estimation of industry analysts, who say it needs 1.9 million to break even.

Investor interest

Setanta suspended new subscriptions on Wednesday, 10 June, as it looked to raise new capital.

On Friday, Access Industries, controlled by the US investor Len Blavatnik, tabled a £20m bid for a 51% share in Setanta.

He and other investors are now carrying out intense "due diligence" - examination of Setanta's books - which should be completed by 19 June.

And over the weekend it emerged that Dutch media firm Endemol was believed to be interested in taking a stake of up to 49% in the company, along with other investors.

'Shortage of time'

Deloitte has been lined up as administrator if Setanta's efforts fail.

The Premier League said it had invited bids for the 46 live matches with Setanta's agreement.

"In view of the shortage of time before the start of next season, the Premier League has determined, with the agreement of Setanta, that it shall today issue its invitation to tender in respect of the 46 UK live matches for the 2009/10 season only," the league said in a statement.

"The bid deadline has been set for Monday, 22 June, but we will give all prospective bidders notice late on Friday, 19 June, if Setanta have met their conditions, thereby negating the need for bids to be submitted."

The Irish broadcaster's predicament is also affecting the Scottish Premier League after it defaulted on a payment of £3m for part of last season's coverage fees.

With some SPL clubs revealing they depend on television money for up to one third of their annual budget, chairmen have voiced serious concerns for the future of the game in Scotland.



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SEE ALSO
Endemol to discuss Setanta stake
15 Jun 09 |  Business
Last-ditch effort to save Setanta
09 Jun 09 |  Business
Foulkes warns of SPL bankruptcies
10 Jun 09 |  Scottish Premier
Setanta halts new subscriptions
10 Jun 09 |  Business
ESPN: 'No current Setanta plans'
11 Jun 09 |  Business

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