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  Tuesday, 20 August, 2002, 12:45 GMT 13:45 UK
Serie A season delayed
Rivaldo and Edgar Davids compete in a pre-season event
Rivaldo and Davids will have to wait until 15 September
Italian clubs have voted to postpone the Serie A season because of the ongoing row over television rights.

The postponement also applies to Serie B clubs - and the start of the season has been put back by two weeks to 15 September.

The new campaign had been due to start on 31 August, with Chievo playing Perugia in the opening game of the season.

Although the delay is for two weeks, only one round of matches are affected.

Italy are due to play Azerbaijan in a European Championship qualifier on 8 September and no league games were scheduled for that weekend.

The season is now expected to begin with the second round of matches - with the opening day fixtures rescheduled for later in the season.

Reasons for the delay:

  • Eight of the smaller Serie A clubs and three Serie B clubs are still without pay-per-view television deals for next season.

  • Bigger clubs such as Juventus have signed a 34.5m contract - but the eight clubs without deals have rejected an offer of 3.3m per club and want 6.4m.

  • Italian state broadcaster RAI paid 56m to show highlights of the league and Italian Cup last season - but has offered just 28.8m for this campaign.

  • RAI has defended its decreased offer, stating it is not prepared to suffer financially in order to aid clubs with debts.

    The decision, which was taken at a meeting of the Italian league's governing body, Lega Calcio, was announced by Brescia president Gino Corioni.


    We have found unity and have shown solidarity with the clubs that have not signed the pay TV contracts
    Torino president Attilio Romero

    Brescia are one of the clubs without a television deal, all of whom have formed a consortium - Plus Media Trading - to negotiate for a better deal.

    To ease the burden, Lega Calcio is proposing to spread the clubs' tax payments over a longer period.

    Corioni said: "We are not asking for money from the state, nor tax relief but rather we are thinking of instalments."

    Despite the delay, Torino president Attilio Romero backed the decision as it will allow the eight time to complete their negotiations.

    He said: "Today we have found unity and have shown solidarity with the clubs that have not signed the pay TV contracts.

    "The solution represents the right balance between their needs and that of the clubs like ours who have a contract."

    Last year, the top 18 Italian clubs declared an operating loss of 500m.

  •  WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    BBC Sport's Harry Peart
    "The stalemate has forced the league's desicion"
    Chievo spokesman Mario Gibellini
    "The highlights can't be worth half as much"
    Italian Gianluca Festa
    "It's right to move the start of the season"
    Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


    E-mail this story to a friend

    Links to more Europe stories

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