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By ESPN Staff

FA opposes UEFA's TV plan

The Football Association will veto any deal that would see television rights for some England games sold collectively by UEFA if it meant their broadcast revenue being slashed.

The FA is in negotiations with European football's governing body, which wants to centralise the awarding of such rights for European Championship - and possibly World Cup - qualifiers.

That could result in a reduced cashflow for the FA, which is insisting upon being compensated for any shortfall. It played down reports that could be as much as £100million but the black hole is significant enough for it to dig its heels in over the matter.

"The FA will not sign or agree to any deal that results in a reduction in broadcast revenue,'' a spokesperson said.

The TV rights to England games are currently bundled in with those for the FA Cup and were worth £425million domestically, and a further £150million in overseas contracts, when the FA signed a four-year deal with ITV and Setanta in 2007.

The collapse of the latter broadcaster saw the FA agree a different deal with ESPN, which is now out of step with the ITV contract. If it surrendered broadcast rights to competitive England matches, the FA would only be able to market less attractive friendly matches.

The value of FA Cup games might also plummet if meaningful internationals are not included as part of any deal. The football associations of Italy, Spain, Germany, France and Holland are also reportedly seeking assurances about compensation for any shortfall they might suffer.

UEFA wants all 53 member federations to sign over their broadcast rights in time for the annual congress in Paris next month. Any such deal would mirror the way in which TV rights are awarded for Champions League and Europa League matches.

UEFA confirmed that if the proposal gets the go-ahead, it would undertake a four-year trial, which would include an opt-out at the end of the cycle. It may also require legal clearance from the European Commission, which has been opposed in principle to the collective selling of rights.


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