Football League claims $1BN losses from ITV Digital collapse

The British Football League has filed a US$258m High Court action against ITV broadcast television network majority shareholders Granada and Carlton Communications.

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By  Richard Brown Published  May 15, 2002

The British Football League has filed a $258m High Court action against ITV broadcast television network majority shareholders Granada and Carlton Communications in a bid to recoup its losses following the collapse of ITV Digital last month.

The League is holding the two television companies liable for the outstanding $258m, plus interest, broadcasting rights contract that conferred exclusive live rights to ITV Digital to broadcast Nationwide League games. The financial standing of several clubs has been jeopardised by ITV Digital's demise.

In addition, the League is also preparing a $724m damages claim against the ITV network itself, charging that it also exploited the League's media rights along with ITV Digital.

In a statement, Football League chief executive David Burns said: “From the outset of this dispute The Football League has made it abundantly clear that it will, if necessary, use all options to pursue Carlton and Granada for monies outstanding on our broadcasting agreement. The Football League has sought to negotiate with Charles Allen [executive chairman of Granada] and Michael Green [chairman of Carlton] but they have refused to meet with us and, in view of their unwillingness to enter into a meaningful discussion, we are now focused on the legal process.”

The administrators of ITV Digital announced on April 30 that they would close the pay television operation, citing insufficient interest from prospective subscribers. ITV Digital’s free to air channels are still being broadcast.

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