Talks over new deal

BBC facing football blackout over SPFL demands

Scottish football freeBBC Scotland could be about to lose its coverage of Scottish football in a dispute with the Scottish Professional Football League over the television contract.

League chairman Ralph Topping and the BBC are locked in talks over a new deal which are not thought to be going well.

The BBC pays £1.4 million a year for the rights to television and online highlights and live coverage of Scottish football games.

Mr Topping is understood to want that figure to double and has pointed to the amount paid by the BBC to English clubs for the rights to screen FA Cup games and Match of the Day.

He told The Times: “From the meetings that we’ve held with the clubs, the divisional and general meetings, there is an absolute view that they will have to come up with a significant offer.

“In my view that offer would need to be north of £3 million. Between £3 million and £4 million. Bear in mind it’s the national competition and this year the league has shown itself to be exciting.

“There will be excitement right through the league next season also. I think that has to be reflected in the price, and the BBC has to show a commitment to the national game in Scotland.

“I think there is a question mark over the attitude of the BBC to Scotland and it is vital that those in Scotland demonstrate that they are fighting the cause because tohers here would say ‘no, they’re not fighting the cause, they’re not banging the drum’.”

BBC Scotland commissioner Ewan Angus said: “We are in the midst of negotiations at the moment and it’s not particularly helpful that Mr Topping chooses to comment in this way.”

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