Football: Paganin turns down Liverpool

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The Independent Online
Massimo Paganin, the Italian international defender, yesterday turned down offers from Liverpool and Newcastle and elected to join the Italian Serie A club Bologna instead.

Paganin, 27, joins Bologna from Internazionale after deciding he would rather play in his home country. His team-mates at Bologna include Roberto Baggio.

Sky TV is remaining tight-lipped over whether it will agree - or even consider - the Football Association's request to allow England's World Cup match against Italy in Rome on 11 October to be shown live on terrestrial television.

The Italian Football Association has sold the television rights to the game in England to Sky, which is planning to broadcast the vital qualifying game live - with ITV allowed to show highlights later in the evening. But FA officials want the whole nation to have the chance to see the game, which will probably decide whether Italy or Glenn Hoddle's side qualify automatically for the 1998 finals in France.

It has been confirmed that the FA's chief executive, Graham Kelly, will be writing to Sky in the next few days in the hope that it will agree to the FA's request.

The FA has no power in relation to forcing Sky's hand over this particular game, but if its request is rejected out of hand, it may be an issue that it could bring into play when it comes to negotiating a new contract with Sky for televising England games when the current four-year deal expires.

It is understood the FA would also be opposed to Sky only showing the game via pay per view if it opts to go it alone in terms of live coverage, as that would further restrict the number of supporters who could watch the game.

Had the game been at Wembley, the FA could have insisted on live terrestrial coverage under the terms of its contract with Sky, which states that what are termed "decisive" games can be viewed by everybody.

However, it is understood that Sky officials are perplexed by the timing of the FA request as they bought up the rights to the Rome game six months ago. There would also seem little logic in Sky agreeing from a position of strength to the FA's request and showing the game on ITV, after obtaining the live rights for their six million plus subscribers.

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