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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 February, 2004, 17:31 GMT
BBC welcomes radio deal
Alan Thompson and Shota Arveladze
Celtic and Rangers feature regularly on BBC Radio Scotland
BBC Radio Scotland has welcomed the winning of an exclusive deal to cover the Scottish Premier League as good for listeners - and football fans.

Setanta beat the BBC to the contract to broadcast live games on television.

But the deal with Radio Scotland means that independent radio loses any rights for four years, starting next season.

Head of Radio Scotland Maggie Cunningham said: "It is not just good news for Radio Scotland sports staff but good news for listeners."

Radio Scotland live commentaries are not only available on both FM and MW but also on the internet.

BBC Scotland aims to continue showing live, televised football matches outwith the Premier League
BBC spokesman
"It is absolutely fantastic," said Cunningham. "We talk to football fans throughout Scotland and there are lots more who listen on the internet.

"We give fans lots of access through the internet and phone lines and we will be looking to further develop our services."

But it was mixed news for the BBC as as a whole.

A spokesman added: "BBC Scotland are delighted to have won the rights for an exclusive four-year deal to offer comprehensive, live coverage of the Premier League on Radio Scotland and to stream live commentary online.

"It is disappointing that we have not won the rights to continue showing live televised Premier League matches.

"We tabled a strong bid which would have enabled football fans to continue watching Scottish football on terrestrial television.

"BBC Scotland aims to continue showing live, televised football matches outwith the Premier League in forthcoming seasons.

"Last season, we broadcast just under 20 live European, Scottish Cup and European Championship qualifying games."

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