BBC launches 'bidding war' in Scotland

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The Independent Online

BBC Scotland has entered a "bidding war" for the rights to screen Scottish Premier League matches next season.

A story on its website confirmed that it was "locked in a bidding war with Sky", although it has refused to comment on reports that the sum involved is in the region of £8m.

Fellow broadcasters Channel 5 had insisted that it is not involved in the bidding process, although it refused to rule out any future move for the rights. "Scotland has done very well for us at international level and Scottish football is an excellent product so we would never say never," a spokesman said. "But we are not bidding for the SPL highlights."

The SPL was left without a television deal after Celtic and Rangers vetoed a league plan to screen the games. The SPL chief executive, Roger Mitchell, conceived the idea after Sky withdrew a new offer to televise Scottish games.

The Old Firm withdrew their support for the league's plans at the last minute, leaving the other 10 top flight sides furious. Those clubs then announced their intention to quit the SPL after becoming frustrated with the 11-1 required voting majority for all decisions on league matters.

Scottish Television withdrew from the race last week but coverage of the Scottish top flight could still fall through if Celtic and Rangers join the Nationwide League.

The Motherwell administrator Bryan Jackson has revealed that there are five "serious parties" interested in buying the club.

Nineteen players were sacked last week after the club was placed into interim administration and put up for sale by the departing chairman John Boyle. However, Jackson is ready to take the next step to find a buyer in the coming weeks by sending those interested parties detailed financial accounts before setting a deadline as to when all concrete offers should be made.

Jackson also moved to deny that the club had received any approaches for the youngster James McFadden, who scored in Wednesday's 1-1 friendly draw with Chievo. Celtic are among those who have been linked with the highly-rated striker, but Jackson was quick to point out that no bids are being encouraged for any of Terry Butcher's squad.

However, the defender Eric Deloumeaux has told Jackson that he will quit the club rather than take a cut in wages. The Frenchman has been asked to accept a revised contract, despite only signing a three-year deal in November.

The £100,000 signing from Le Havre will sit down with Jackson today, but he is refusing to accept anything less than his present terms stipulate. "I want to stay, but I have to see the solicitor again," he said. "At this moment in time I don't know what I am getting paid. I think I will be here next season, but if I have to accept a cut in wages I will leave because I still have a contract for two years.

"For me I will continue to do my job very professionally because I have a contract which I will honour, but otherwise I will go."

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