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Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 22:13 GMT 23:13 UK
BBC anger over football deal

Television rights will net Premiership clubs a fortune
The BBC has spoken out after losing its rights to show highlights of Premier League football matches to ITV.

The corporation said it had lost in a process that was driven by money rather than a love of football.

The BBC's Director General, Greg Dyke, said the Premier League had not rewarded loyalty and had sacrificed the Match of the Day programme.

The only conclusion one can draw is what mattered to the Premier League was to get the most amount of money

Greg Dyke

"We didn't like this auction system the Premier League set up and are disappointed that given the Premier League is getting 1.5bn in all, that for 20m it was prepared to sacrifice the best brand in British football.

"The only conclusion one can draw is what mattered to the Premier League was to get the most amount of money.

"It placed no value on Match of the Day and the amount of work that has gone on in the BBC to support the Premier League.

"I'm afraid this is the world of football we live in today."

News of the lost bid was announced by the chief executive of the Premier League on Wednesday.

It was also revealed that BSkyB will retain its coverage of live matches after bidding 1.1bn over three years.

The football week
Saturday: Highlights on ITV
Sunday: Live and pay-per-view games and Saturday's highlights on Sky, Sunday's highlights on ITV
Monday: Live games on Sky
Tuesday: Clubs can show Saturday, Sunday and Monday games on their internet sites
A BBC spokesman said: "We were always uncomfortable with the auction process.

"It didn't give the BBC any credit for helping to build the audience for the Premier League since its inception. It seems only money talks these days."

The BBC, who this year will pay 20m for the rights for Match of the Day, offered 41m a year for the new deal.

The spokesman said: "This was more than a 100% increase. ITV has trebled the annual fee for Premier League highlights with a bid of 61m a year."

Acting BBC director of sport Richard Sambrook said: "We are sorry the BBC has lost the Premier League rights.


"We believe ours was a very fair and reasonable offer, given that we are spending public money. We have to assume this will be a loss leader for ITV."

Pledging to continue with Match of the Day and Premier League highlights throughout next season, Mr Sambrook said: "From the very first Premier League season, the BBC has ensured that every Saturday night, the entire country has enjoyed the full story and excitement of key matches on Match of the Day.

"Of course, we would have preferred to continue telling the story of the Premier League, but we are still optimistic that the FA Cup and England's crucial home internationals will be coming home to the BBC."

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, covering Wednesday night's Euro 2000 clash between Italy and Belgium on BBC TV, told viewers that he had some "sad news" to report.

The former England international said he was sure that people would know what it meant for the BBC to lose the highlights contract.

Des delight

"I am sure you are as disappointed as we are," he added.

One person who was not expressing disappointment was former BBC presenter Des Lynam.

He now faces the likelihood of once again fronting a Match Of The Day-style highlights show, after jumping channels.

Lynam said: "I am personally thrilled to be reunited with the Premier League. I am delighted for my ITV colleagues who have put an enormous amount of work into clinching this contract."

BBC commentator Barry Davies was shocked and dismayed after the BBC lost the highlights.

The presenter, at the Belgium versus Italy Euro 2000 match in Brussels, said:

"My reaction is just one of complete surprise.

"I'm just disappointed for all the people who have put so much work into the programme.

'Body blow'

"It is the end of an era once again. We came back from it last time and I'm not going to give up hope."

The corporation's former managing director Sir Paul Fox called the impending demise of Match Of The Day "the biggest blow BBC Sport have ever suffered".

"It's a body blow. It eclipses the loss of the FA Cup final, Test cricket, Formula One motor racing and all the other things that the BBC have lost."

Broadcasting legend Kenneth Wolstenholme, who was on the first Match of the Day back in August 1964, thought the loss was another sign the BBC cannot compete with their rivals in bidding for sports.

"It's now almost impossible for the BBC to catch up. They just don't have the money or the income and it's very sad indeed," he said.

"It's all very sad and it's the end of an era. Wembley's going and now the BBC are going out of sport."

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See also:

14 Jun 00 | FA Carling Premiership
BBC loses Premier League rights
14 Jun 00 | Football
Match of the Day in pictures
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