Football: Scots' TV boost

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The Independent Online
SCOTTISH football fans are in for a culture shock next season, with up to 30 top-flight games being played on a Thursday night. The "breakaway" clubs are negotiating a pounds 20m two-year television deal with Sky Sports that will be revealed shortly.

However, there is a large price to pay for the revenue being distributed by the satellite company, with the vast majority of the matches being put on at an unfamiliar time.

There are already objections within the new Premier League about the proposed switch, with Celtic particularly unhappy at losing so many Saturday games. The TV deal will guarantee 30 live broadcasts, with 24 to involve the Old Firm of Celtic and Rangers. That will mean huge disruption of the fixture calendar and is bound to cause uproar among supporters, with both Rangers and Celtic drawing many fans from all over Scotland and beyond.

The TV contract is worth pounds 10m a year, split among the 10 clubs. Rangers and Celtic will pocket around pounds 1.5m each, while the smaller clubs can expect at least pounds 500,000 during the season - money which will help keep some of those teams with less support afloat.

Celtic will host the Old Firm Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers, following a drawing of lots yesterday.

TENNENTS SCOTTISH CUP Semi-finals: Sat 4 Apr: Falkirk v Hearts (3.0) (at Ibrox Park). Sun 5 Apr: Celtic v Rangers (5.0) (at Parkhead).