Old Firm unhappy with new TV deal

Celtic and Rangers, the richest and most powerful clubs in Scottish football, have condemned the Scottish Premier League's decision to accept a 65 million pounds broadcasting deal with Sky and ESPN. The 12 SPL clubs agreed, in a non-unanimous vote, to accept the contract that will see 60 live games screened per season but deliver only about half the income of the previous deal with Irish broadcaster Setanta, which has gone into administration. The new arrangement with satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting and Walt Disney Co's sports TV newtwork ESPN will last until the end of the 2011/12 season with an option for a further two years but the Old Firm clubs are unhappy with it. "Celtic have a responsibility to speak out for our supporters who will be deeply dissatisfied with the background to and outcome of today's SPL decision and the events leading up to it," the club's chairman John Reid told www.celticfc.net. "No-one should underestimate the blow that has been inflicted on this club and Scottish football by the way in which the whole affair has been handled, and by the losses incurred. DISASTROUS MISJUDGEMENT "Last year's decision to reject the Sky bid and opt for Setanta - arrived at against the strong opposition of Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen - has proved to be the disastrous misjudgement we indicated it might be, with Setanta now in administration. "In turn, this has led to the dilemma we now find ourselves in. Today the SPL accepted a bid that is less than half the value of that offered by Sky last year. "The whole SPL is now a commercial victim, in an uncompetitive TV market, in the middle of a recession, locked in for years to an income some 60 percent lower than last year's bid. "To Celtic it means a potential loss of up to 12 million pounds over the four-year period." Celtic and Rangers have previously discussed the idea of buying the rights themselves and Reid said his club "reserved the right to continue to explore those options". Rangers chief executive Martin Bain was similarly unhappy. "We do not feel that the values now presented in relation to the length of term proposed by Sky and ESPN are a fair and true reflection of the value over the length of the term of the whole contract," he told www.rangers.premiumtv.co.uk. "However, Rangers have to abide by the majority vote this morning in favour of the Sky and ESPN contract."