Uefa renews deal with Sky and ITV

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The Independent Football

The current arrangement, in which ITV shows the best two matches live on Tuesdays and Sky shows the other games on Tuesdays and all Wednesday games live stays in place.

The announcement by the European game's governing body had been widely expected and was only held up by discussions over Uefa's insistence that the broadcaster simultaneously transmit all their live matches over the internet.

The agreement also falls in line with European Commission rules, avoiding the dispute with Brussels which continues to dog the Premier League over their television rights sales.

Lars-Christer Olsson, the chief executive of Uefa, European football's governing body, said: "The Uefa Champions' League in the UK almost always plays to full stadia and invariably provides dramatic entertainment.

"Uefa is delighted to be renewing its broadcasting arrangements in the UK with two such committed and high quality partners as ITV and BSkyB."

With reference to matches involving Scottish clubs, any match played on Tuesday when two English clubs are playing, will also be shown live by ITV in its Scottish regions. Wednesday matches involving Scottish clubs will always be shown live by BSkyB.

Vic Wakeling, the managing director of Sky Sports, said: "This new deal guarantees us four more seasons of Uefa Champions' League football in all, starting tonight, and allows us to develop and enhance this service still further - whilst always making sure we are with the British clubs every step of the way.

"The digital technology we have developed is unique, and has worked superbly. Our subscribers have told us how much they appreciate the power of choice, and the ability to switch between eight live matches at any time."

Uefa has announced a change of policy in its out-of-competition drug-testing programme. New regulations mean players involved in the Champions' League can be tested anywhere in the week before a match.

Before this season, two players from participating clubs were selected at random to be tested after each Champions' League game.

A Uefa spokesman said: "Clubs entering the tournament this season have had to agree to this rule. We are following sports like athletics and cycling and now we can test players at training grounds or at their homes.

"This will be done completely randomly and the [main] element is surprise. We can call upon any player, at any time."

The change follows increased pressure on the game's governing bodies from the World Anti-Doping Agency to increase drug-testing. The agency has even suggested removing the sport from the Olympic Games unless its drug-testing policies were brought into line with those of other Olympic sports.

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