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By ESPN Staff

Clubs braced as Setanta teeters on brink

Struggling broadcaster Setanta today issued their first statement since their cash crisis began, confirming that company chiefs are still trying to secure a rescue package.

The Irish pay-television firm said they were not in administration but had suspended all new customer subscriptions.

Senior management are continuing in their bid to refinance the company which screens Premier League, FA Cup and Scottish Premier League football matches among other sports.

A statement on Setanta's website said: "Setanta Sports management and investors are in the process of attempting to secure the future of the business.

"Contrary to several reports, we have not gone into administration.

"All of our channels are still broadcasting across all platforms and our subscribers can continue to enjoy our programming.

"However, in the current circumstances, we have decided to temporarily suspend the acceptance of new subscriptions.''

The broadcaster had suffered another blow this morning after BT Vision, the home digital TV service, suspended any further sales of Setanta Sports.

It emerged yesterday that BSkyB had refused a £50million lifeline to the Irish broadcaster who are in crisis with a payment of more than £30million due to the Premier League this week and backers refusing to advance them any more money.

Another broadcaster ESPN is favourite to step in and take over Setanta's Premier League games if they go into administration.

The firm has been looking to reduce its rights bills, raise cash from investors or even sell a stake to another company. Deloitte have been lined up as administrator if the rescue efforts fail.

Meanwhile, some Scottish Premier League clubs could be forced out of business if Setanta goes into administration, according to a former club chairman.

Labour peer Lord Foulkes, ex-chairman of Hearts, believes the situation is very serious.

He said: "I think it puts the future of one or two SPL clubs in jeopardy. They are already struggling financially and this on top of it could be the tipping point.

"In some clubs it represents up to 20% of their income and the loss of it would be really catastrophic.''