Crucial day for struggling Setanta

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The Independent Online

Sports broadcaster Setanta faces a day of reckoning today as it struggles to negotiate a rescue deal while fighting off a Premier League threat to pull a major contract.

The Irish firm has until today to fulfil "certain contractual requirements" or face losing the last part of its existing £392 million three-year deal, under which it will show 46 Premier League football matches next season.

An emergency tender of Setanta's games for 2009/10 has already been launched but will be cancelled if the broadcaster manages to meet demands.

Meanwhile Setanta is attempting to stave off administration by raising funds to help pay TV rights bills, which include the Barclays Premier League, as well as the FA Cup and Scottish Premier League (SPL).

A deal has been put forward by US tycoon Len Blavatnik's Access Industries, which is reportedly offering £20 million in return for a 51% stake. Big Brother maker Endemol has also been linked with an investment.

The company, which started taking new subscriptions again this week on hopes of a rescue, boasts around 1.2 million subscribers - but that is still short of the reported 1.9 million it needs to break even and customer numbers have been hit by the recession.

Setanta suspended new subscriptions last week, prompting fears over the future of the business. It also missed a £3 million payment due to the SPL under the current deal - forcing the league to pay clubs from its own pocket.

It owes £30 million to the Barclays Premier League.

Deloitte has been lined up as administrator if the broadcaster's survival efforts fail.