Glazer suffers setback over United TV hopes

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Malcolm Glazer has been dealt a serious blow to any ambitions of Manchester United securing their own television deals after the European Commission yesterday said they would not support a legal challenge by the club's new owner.

Malcolm Glazer has been dealt a serious blow to any ambitions of Manchester United securing their own television deals after the European Commission yesterday said they would not support a legal challenge by the club's new owner.

United and the other 19 Premier League clubs have a "joint selling" agreement by which they negotiate collectively for the domestic and overseas rights to the competition. Glazer is thought to have his eyes on United breaking away from that agreement, possibly by challenging the ruling in the European courts under free market legislation.

The EC competitions commission have been in conflict with the Premier League over their TV deals before, but their spokesman Jonathan Todd has ruled out any backing from Brussels for a challenge to the principle of joint selling.

Todd said: "We do not have a problem with joint selling, and we have recently given our blessing to a similar agreement with the German Bundesliga.

"We have a provisional agreement with the Premier League and we are still talking to them about the terms and conditions of the contracts, but the principle of joint selling is not a problem."

The EC's main concerns are about trying to prevent a monopoly by a broadcaster rather than a collective agreement by a league. Their position is bad news for Glazer, as an individual TV deal for United would be the easiest way of raising revenue at the club and clearing the £540m debts incurred by his takeover.

Norway's Lyn Oslo and United,meanwhile, have lodged a complaint with the world governing body, Fifa, over Chelsea's pursuit of the Nigerian teenager John Obi Mikel. United say Mikel signed for them, but the 18-year-old midfielder has been quoted as saying he wants to join Chelsea.

Lyn said they have a contract with Mikel of which he is in breach after missing training and a match.

Comments