FA insists it will block any Uefa plan that threatens cut to TV revenue
Thursday 24 February 2011
The Football Association yesterday confirmed it would veto any deal that would see television rights for some England games sold collectively by Uefa if it meant its broadcast revenue being slashed.
The FA is in negotiations with European football's governing body, who wants to centralise the awarding of such rights for European Championships – and possibly World Cup – qualifiers.
That could result in a reduced cashflow for the FA, which insists upon being compensated for any shortfall. The FA yesterday played down reports that that could be as much as £100m but the black hole is significant enough for it to dig its heels in over the matter. "The FA will not sign or agree to any deal that results in a reduction in broadcast revenue," a spokesperson said.
The TV rights to England games are currently bundled in with those for the FA Cup and were worth £425m domestically, and a further £150m in overseas contracts, when the FA signed a four-year deal with ITV and Setanta in 2007. The collapse of the latter broadcaster saw the FA agree a different deal with ESPN, which is now out of step with the ITV contract. If it surrendered its broadcast rights to competitive England matches, the FA would only be able to market less attractive friendly matches.
The value of FA Cup games might also plummet if meaningful internationals are not included. The associations of Italy, Spain, Germany, France and the Netherlands are also seeking assurances about compensation for any shortfall they might suffer. Uefa wants all 53 member federations to sign over their broadcast rights in time for next month's annual congress in Paris.
Any such deal would mirror the way in which TV rights are awarded for Champions League and Europa League matches.
Uefa confirmed yesterday that if its proposal gets the go-ahead, it would undertake a four-year trial, which would include an opt-out at the end of the cycle. The body may also require legal clearance from the European Commission.
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