TV battle for Gazza

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The Independent Online
Television companies could soon be scrambling for rights to screen Paul Gascoigne's competitive debut for Rangers - against the Cypriot team, Anorthosis Famagusta, in the European Cup.

Rangers, the biggest of the 12 Scottish, Welsh and Irish clubs in preliminary- round action, face the underdogs from Cyprus on 9 and 23 August with victory guaranteeing the Scottish champions six games in the elite Champions League - worth at least pounds 5m to the Ibrox club. That would recoup, at a stroke, Gascoigne's pounds 4.3m fee.

Rangers sold the television rights to their first leg at Ibrox on 9 August back to Uefa only hours after yesterday's draw paired them with the side who won the Cypriot championship last season for the first time in over 30 years.

Now, Scottish Television, Sky Sports and the BBC can negotiate directly with Uefa for the right to show what will be Gascoigne's competitive debut more than a fortnight before the League kick-off north of the border.

The Scottish pair, Motherwell and Raith, were both given favourable ties in the Uefa Cup - Motherwell face MyPa-47 of Finland while Raith's first European campaign is against Gotu Itrottarfelag of the Faroe Islands.

Afan Lido, the team from a Port Talbot sports centre, make their Uefa Cup debut against the Latvians of RAF Riga. Bangor meet Widzew Lodz of Poland, while Wrexham face the Romanians of Petrolul Ploiesti.

European draws,

Sporting Digest, page 25

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