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Monday, 25 March, 2002, 15:24 GMT
Football fans told to snub ITV
Coronation Street is made by Granada
Coronation Street is made by Granada
Football fans are being urged to boycott programmes like Coronation Street if ITV Digital reneges on a multi-million pound deal.

Football League chief Keith Harris has issued the warning as the channel's owners Granada and Carlton decide whether to renegotiate their contract with them.

The deal states that ITV Digital pays 178.5m for coverage of the next two seasons, but it is offering only 25m per season.


We are also urging football fans to let the ITV companies know what they think of them

Keith Harris
It is feared many smaller clubs will go bust unless they receive the funds.

The Football League is threatening legal action and Mr Harris said supporters can make their feelings known if the deal is ditched.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: "We believe we have the strongest possible legal case to take action against each and every one of the parties.

"Clearly, in the most constructive way possible, we are also urging football fans to let the ITV companies know what they think of them."

ITV Digital wants to change its current deal
ITV Digital wants to change its current deal
He predicted that more than 30 clubs could go out of business if ITV Digital decides to tear up the 315m contract.

Hull chairman Adam Pearson has warned ITV Digital's owners that fans will turn on them.

He said: "The wrath of the community when the first club does go down will be a very heavy one on Carlton and Granada."

Disappointing

ITV Digital snapped up the TV rights in an effort to win market share from BSkyB, which claims 5.7 million viewers in the UK and Ireland.

But audiences have been disappointing, meaning ITV Digital could not reap the advertising revenues hoped for.

ITV Digital has so far swallowed 800m of investment, and requires a further 300m to reach breakeven point.

The service has shed one quarter of its staff in the past year in an effort to cut costs.

Some club chiefs had urged the Football League to consider a compromise deal, rather than risk forcing the end of ITV Digital and hopes of receiving any cash from the contract.

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