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Last Updated: Friday, 8 August, 2003, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Premiership back on the BBC
Premiership football highlights have been won back by the BBC from 2004/5
Match of the Day will be back with weekend highlights
Premiership football will return to the BBC as part of the new television coverage deal unveiled on Friday.

Match of the Day will be revived with highlights programmes on both Saturday and Sunday for three years from the 2004/5 season.

Live games will continue to be shown on Sky, while ITV will lose its highlights package at the end of the forthcoming season.

Sky's satellite deal is worth 1.024bn, with the BBC paying 105m for its highlights contract.

BBC director of sport Peter Salmon said: "We are delighted to have won back the rights to the Premier League highlights on Saturday and Sunday night."

He said the shows would probably be broadcast at 1030pm and added that the BBC did not bid for any live matches.

Viewers will have the best sport output from the BBC for a generation
Peter Salmon
BBC director of sport
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said the BBC's rights deal was "good news" for TV viewers of football.

Salmon said: "Match of the Day is a much-loved, iconic brand and it is wonderful to return it to our screens.

"We have missed the highlights programme, and it feels like we are welcoming back an old and much loved friend.

"Since we lost the rights, licence fee payers have been asking us when they will be coming back, and we hope that football fans will be pleased that they have returned to the BBC."

Match of the Day presenter and former England captain Gary Lineker said having the Premiership highlights back on the BBC was "even more special" than it would be watching two of his former clubs, Barcelona and Leicester, play on Friday night.

League Managers Association boss John Barnwell said the return of Match of the Day was "terrific, really great news for football".

He said he was still "massively concerned about the Football League", but admitted it would be "wildly optimistic" to expect any of the money from the TV rights deal to "filter down".

An ITV statement said: "We're disappointed not to win the highlights, but we bid what the rights were worth to ITV.

THE DEALS IN DETAIL
Live matches
Sky wins rights for all four packages of matches on offer, and will show 138 games live
Total cost - 1.024bn

Highlights
BBC regains rights from ITV and will have evening shows every Saturday & some Sundays
Total cost - 105m
"We still have rights to Europe's premier club competition, the Champions League, and the money we'll save on the Premiership will be reinvested in the network programme budget."

Scudamore said he believed the new deal would meet with the approval of the European Union's competitions commission, which had expressed concerns about the selling of football TV rights.

The live games were split up into four separate packages, each of which were won by Sky, Scudamore said.

The most attractive of the four packages with the pick of the best games was sold for 358m, with the other three going for 282m, 230m and 154m.

"We believe the way we have packaged these rights and the size of these packages has been absolutely in accordance with very pro-competitive needs," Scudamore said.

"They have been won individually, and therefore we believe they meet the commission's needs."

An EC spokesman told the BBC: "We will go back to the Premier League and ask how many bids were received for each package.

HAVE YOUR SAY

"We are raising these issues to see whether each package was subject to a competitive, open and fair tender process.

"We don't know if that was the case, and we would like to know."

"If we find anything we think was uncompetitive, the negotiating process with the Premier League will continue."

Scudamore insisted that there had been competition for the live-match packages.

Salmon said the new Premiership deal would be a highlight of a very strong package of sport on the BBC in 2004.

Next year would be "great for sports fans across the UK, with the FA Cup, Six Nations, Wimbledon, Euro 2004, the Olympics, and now the Premier League highlights all available on BBC," he said.

"This gives viewers the best sport output from the BBC for a generation," he added.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC director of sport Peter Salmon
"We have got what we wanted at a good price"


Gary Lineker
"Everyone's thrilled"



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