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Friday, 10 May, 2002, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
Rebel clubs blame Celtic
Sky say that they will not bid for TV rights for the SPL
Sky say that they will not bid for TV rights for the SPL
The renegade 10 Scottish Premier League clubs have accused Celtic of wrecking hopes of another television deal with Sky.

Sky have confirmed that they had no bid planned to renew their television rights for the SPL, which could leave BBC Scotland as the sole runner in the race to screen the nation's top flight.

The satellite broadcaster had opened initial negotiations with SPL chief executive Roger Mitchell after the league's plans for its own subscription-based channel was vetoed by the Old Firm last month.

But millionaire Celtic director Dermot Desmond last week held fresh negotiations with English Nationwide League clubs, with claims that he was seeking a move to English football as early as next season.


It is disappointing that yet again negotiations have been undermined at a crucial stage
SPL spokesman
That has left furious the 10 non-Old Firm clubs, who are facing an uncertain financial future without a TV deal.

The 10 are also connecting Sky's decision with those reports.

"It is disappointing that yet again negotiations have been undermined at a crucial stage," said a spokesman for the 10 clubs.

"We saw that there is yet more speculation being fuelled about Celtic departing Scotland in the near future and then negotiations broke down again.

"You would be naive to think the two were not connected.

"It is sad because we've said all along that the adversity is hugely problematic.

"We were hoping for two years of stability at least, but it is not to be."

A Sky spokesman said: "There have been confidential discussions between ourselves, the SPL and its representatives on two occasions over the past two weeks.

"But Sky has not made any new bid for rights and no bid is planned."

Withdraw resignation threat

Channel 5 has maintained that it is not involved in the bidding process, although it has refused to rule out any future move for the rights.

The lack of a television deal leaves the top flight with an uneasy financial future and several clubs have already begun cost-cutting measures after Motherwell were placed in administration two weeks ago.

The 10 clubs had announced their intention to resign from the SPL in the wake of the Old Firm's decision to pull the plug on SPL TV.

There were claims on Friday that the Old Firm have threatened to block a deal with the BBC unless the other 10 withdraw their threat to resign.

It has been reported that the BBC had bid 8m per year for two years, although the organisation has refused to comment as it is bound by a confidentiality agreement.

There have been suggestions that some games would be broadcast in other parts of the UK as part of the deal.

See also:

22 Apr 02 | Scot Prem
18 Apr 02 | Scot Prem
11 Apr 02 | Football
11 Apr 02 | Football
08 Apr 02 | Scot Prem
08 Apr 02 | Scot Prem
Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.


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