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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
League hails TV deal
Sky will broadcast 60 League matches a season
Sky will broadcast 60 League matches a season
The Football League is delighted to have secured a 95m four-year deal with Sky, which has been hailed as a lifeline for cash-strapped clubs.

It brings to an end "an awful year" for the League after the collapse of ITV Digital had left many clubs in dire financial straits.

The announcement was made on Thursday after negotiations lasted throughout the night.


It strengthens football, it puts the financial stability back into the clubs which was missing
David Burns

The deal is some way short of the 189.5m still owed by ITV Digital but it does come as a huge relief to the 72 clubs.

Football League chief executive David Burns said: "We have had an awful year with ITV Digital but we are very, very pleased indeed with this.

"We have secured a great deal with a great broadcast partner and it puts us right back on track.

"It strengthens football, it puts the financial stability back into the clubs which was missing.

Court action

"The message coming in from the clubs is very supportive and they are very relieved. We can now go forward into the marketplace to sell a free-to-air terrestrial TV highlights package. We are in good shape."

The League is still taking the owners of ITV Digital, Carlton Communications and Granada, to court in an attempt to recover the owed millions.

The case is due to be heard in the High Court in London on 26 July.


This is a good news day for football
Gordon Taylor
PFA chief executive

Burns added: "Going to court is not the way to solve a business dispute, as someone will win and someone will lose, but when someone has broken their contract with you there is no alternative."

Players' chief Gordon Taylor was also pleased with the deal, hoping it will give clubs the confidence to strengthen their squads.

Teams outside the Premiership have been reluctant to buy this summer in the wake of the ITV Digital crisis.

Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, revealed that 550 full professionals were out of work.

He said: "The worry was that more clubs would go into administration. So this development is a good news day for football and very encouraging.

"With 550 professionals released, hopefully clubs will be encouraged to increase their squads before the transfer window closes at the end of August."

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Matt Williams
"This is a substantial drop"
Football League chief executive David Burns
"We're very pleased"
Football consultant Alex Finn
"It's a good deal for Sky"

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