Setanta given payment deadline by Premier League

The Premier League today told Setanta they will auction off the troubled broadcaster's 46 live matches for next season if they do not meet their next payment by a deadline of this Friday.

The league today announced they have, with Setanta's agreement, issued an invitation to tender for those 46 games.

If Setanta have not met their contractual obligations by Friday - and it is understood they are due to make a payment of more than £30million - then the 2009/10 broadcast rights will be sold after a bid deadline on Monday.

The Premier League said in a statement: "The Premier League has been working over the past weeks, with Setanta, to ascertain whether they are in a position to continue as the broadcaster of 46 UK live matches for the 2009/10 season.

"Although the Premier League would like to provide Setanta with as much time as possible to re-arrange its finances, the start of the 2009/10 Season is only two months away, with the release of fixtures imminent.

"Accordingly, the Premier League has notified Setanta that if necessary the existing licence agreement between us will be terminated, coming into effect if Setanta does not meet certain contractual requirements of the Premier League on or before Friday 19 June 2009.

"In view of the shortage of time before the start of next season, the Premier League has determined, with the agreement of Setanta, that it shall today issue its Invitation to Tender (ITT) in respect of the 46 UK Live Matches for the 2009/10 Season only.

"The bid deadline has been set for Monday 22 June but we will give all prospective bidders notice late on Friday 19 June if Setanta have met their conditions, thereby negating the need for bids to be submitted."