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Friday, 2 August, 2002, 06:20 GMT 07:20 UK
Football's ITV Digital fury
The collapse of ITV Digital will severely affect Nationwide clubs
ITV Digital has now gone off air
BBC Sport Online rounds-up the reaction to the ITV Digital court ruling

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally has claimed a legal ruling in favour of ITV Digital's parent companies will lead to some clubs facing financial ruin.

The First Division club's chief made the comments after the Football League's failure to recoup 131.9m - part of the 178.5m it said it was owed by Carlton and Granada.

The court ruled the broadcasters were not liable to pay the remaining two years of their three-year contract with the League worth a total of 315m.

"It's a very, very sad day for football. Many clubs will now look at their situation and it could push them over the edge," said Scally.

"If clubs collapse fans should lay the blame firmly at their door."

Meanwhile, York City chairman John Batchelor said he may sue the Football League for failing to secure guarantees from Carlton and Granada when the contract was written.

Batchelor also called for the League executives to resign over the ITV fiasco.

Millwall chairman Theo Paphitis called for the Football League to be restructured.

He also took a swipe at League chief executive David Burns.

"The League have stumbled from one disaster to another. It must be totally restructured. It's archaic and amateurish," Paphitis said.

But Southend deputy chairman Geoffrey King felt it was too early to be calling for resignations, suggesting that there could be an appeal.

It looked a losing battle once it wasn't down in writing
Hartlepool manager Chris Turner

Scunthorpe manager Brian Laws also took his frustrations out on the League saying many questions must be asked and addressed.

"This has an effect on all football clubs in the League, we feel very strongly that we should have been entitled to some compensation," he said.

Colchester chief executive Marie Partner said while the news was disappointing the club had taken steps to cope without any compensation.

"We had already prepared our budgets under the assumption that we would be receiving no further monies, as such, we will have to prepare ourselves for a tough season, but one which we will be able to get through."

Brighton assistant manager Bob Booker said: "It's a massive blow, even when you think you're out of the water."

He said he expected it to hit the lower league clubs more harshly.

Luke Raine, PR director at Third Division Darlington, said the decision came as no surprise but added that his club would battle on.

"I never expected it to go any other way," he said.

"I think it was well-documented that Carlton and Granada said from day one that they never ever signed any guarantees over this deal and they were never ever going to be brought to task."

Hartlepool boss Chris Turner also admitted that the decision had come as no surprise, but said that his Third Division outfit would not be as badly affected as the First Division clubs.

"It looked a losing battle once it wasn't down in writing," he said.

"The Football League has got to look at itself and see where the wrongdoings were and try to rectify them," he said.

Reading chairman John Madejski expressed his disappointment on the club's website.

But like other larger First Division outfits he expected his club would survive.

"It's a blow to everybody, but we're not as badly off as some other clubs in the First Division."

BBC Five Live's Rob Nothman
"The future of David Burns is now uncertain"
York chairman John Batchelor
"Carlton and Granada have behaved in a deplorable way"
Football League chief executive David Burns
"We are naturally disappointed"

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Football feels pinch
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01 Aug 02 | Business
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