Setanta ‘could face administration’

CASH-strapped sports broadcaster Setanta could be forced into administration this week after failing to make payments due on TV rights, according to reports.

Deloitte are on stand-by to act as administrator for the firm unless it agrees a last-minute rescue with their investors, the reports said.

The Irish firm, which televised England’s 4-0 World Cup qualifying win away to Kazakhstan on Saturday, is struggling to pay cash owed to football associations.

Setanta – which was unavailable for comment – has about 1.2 million customers, but this is well below the 1.9 million they need to break even, according to the Sunday Times.

If the company fails to cut its rights payments, or raise more cash from investors and fall into administration, it could trigger a firesale of TV rights, including the England national team’s away qualifiers and FA Cup matches.

ITV and Setanta won the contract from the Football Association in 2007 before the recession hit, impacting on advertising revenues.

The FA are said to have rebuffed attempts by Setanta to reduce their £150 million (€171m) share of the £425m four-year deal by 25%.

Setanta also has rights to screen matches from the Premier League, which is awaiting a £35m payment later this month, the reports claimed.

Last week it failed to pay £3m owed to the Scottish Premier League under the final instalment of this season’s TV deal, and has until today to come up with the cash. It has also been seeking to cut the price of its current £125m deal with the SPL, which has agreed to pay the £3m outstanding from funds to their 12 member clubs to ease the financial pressure.

Irishmen Michael O’Rourke and Leonard Ryan set up Setanta in 1990. Deloitte was unavailable for comment.


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