Wednesday May 11 2011
Big clubs rage at TV rights deal

Milan and Juventus are among those pledging retaliation after the Lega Calcio voted in favour of the 15 smaller Serie A sides in the battle over TV rights.

The money from pay-per-view television rights is the main source of income for Italian clubs and every summer there tends to be controversy over how the funds are divided up.

The five big sides – Milan, Inter, Juventus, Roma and Napoli – had protested vehemently against the other clubs following a meeting on April 15.

This is because the smaller sides picked three agencies to calculate how the television rights should be divided up and the top clubs disagreed with the choice.

Today the matter came to a head when the smaller sides won 6-5 with Lega Calcio President Maurizio Beretta's decisive vote.

“Beretta will take responsibility for his actions, including what effect it will have on the Lega,” blasted Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani.

“He abstained from the first vote and promised to do the same today, but then changed his mind.”

Juventus President Andrea Agnelli was even more severe with the Lega decision.

“There are five clubs who between them represent 75 per cent of the fans, but are forced to accept the decisions of the other teams. We have 3m people in our potential audience compared to the 300,000 of the other 15.

“We will appeal to the CONI (Italian Olympic Committee) to ensure the development of this sport. We are united with the other four big clubs and could leave the Lega.

“Does this mean possibly playing in the Premier League or French Ligue 1? We are evaluating all options.”

Beretta responded with a statement insisting “in the absence of other options supported by everyone, it was difficult to avoid getting the process underway.

“In any case, I maintain there are the time and the conditions to find an agreement between all parties on how this mechanism will work.”

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