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Archived News from August 2002

LEAGUE LOSE ITV CASE
2nd August 2002 15:48


Following a complex three day hearing at the High Court, it has been ruled that guarantees freely offered by ITV Digital, in a competitive bidding process for Football League television rights, did not amount to binding guarantees from parent companies Carlton and Granada, but in the words of one of their own witnesses were merely a "sales pitch". The League is very disappointed by this outcome. ITV Digital's original bid letter and the promise of ongoing funding from its parents were instrumental in ITV Digital's bid for Football League television rights being successful. Indeed, it was the judgment of the Court that ITV Digital's Director of Broadcasting readily acknowledged that the words contained in the bid could be read as offering a shareholder guarantee to The Football League, as indeed in the Judge's opinion "not only they plainly can but would normally be". Carlton and Granada's case presented by their witnesses, including ITV Digital's former Chief Executive Stuart Prebble, revealed that nobody of authority at Carlton or Granada nor the Board of ITV Digital approved the Initial Bid nor even ratified this or the final bid in any document. The written statements of Mr Green and Mr Allen, Chairmen of Carlton and Granada respectively, who were at the time also directors of ITV Digital, confirmed they did not even read the Initial Bid. At £315m this was the largest commercial agreement undertaken by ITV Digital, a company entirely dependent on funding from Carlton and Granada, and upon whose board Carlton and Granada each had three directors. The League will now consider its grounds for appeal and would like to pay tribute to football supporters throughout the country for backing their clubs in this campaign.

 

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