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Premier League give Setanta Friday deadline

The Premier League has given troubled broadcaster Setanta until Friday to stump up the cash for the rights for 46 live games next season. If the Irish company fails to meet the deadline the Premier League will sell the coverage to other broadcasters.

The League released an official statement regarding the deal today: "The Premier League has been working over the past weeks, with Setanta, to ascertain whether they are in a position to continue as the broadcaster of 46 UK live matches for the 2009-10 season."

"Although the Premier League would like to provide Setanta with as much time as possible to re-arrange its finances, the start of the 2009-10 season is only two months away, with the release of fixtures imminent.

"Accordingly, the Premier League has notified Setanta that if necessary the existing licence agreement between us will be terminated, coming into effect if Setanta does not meet certain contractual requirements of the Premier League on or before Friday 19 June 2009.

"In view of the shortage of time before the start of next season, the Premier League has determined, with the agreement of Setanta, that it shall today issue its invitation to tender in respect of the 46 UK live matches for the 2009-10 season only.

"The bid deadline has been set for Monday, 22 June but we will give all prospective bidders notice late on Friday 19 June if Setanta have met their conditions, thereby negating the need for bids to be submitted."

Setanta failed to meet a £3m payment to the SPL last week and currently owes £30m to the Premier League. However, the company are reported to be negotiating a possible rescue package with Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik's Access Industries as well as TV giant Endemol.

Under EU law the Premier League cannot sell the rights package to just one broadcaster meaning that Sky can bid for just 23 of Setanta's games with ESPN expected to pay for coverage of the remaining games.

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