Italian football bosses have vowed to put their house in order as television companies made an improved offer to clubs in a bid to get the new season underway.
The season’s start has already been delayed by a fortnight as Italian clubs voted to delay the opening by two weeks, too enable eight Serie A clubs to secure improved contracts with pay-per-view television stations.
Italy’s two pay-per-view channels increased their offer to the eight teams (Atalanta, Brescia, Chievo, Como, Empoli, Modena, Perugia and Piacenza) by almost 50 percent yesterday and with pressure from the Italian Foootball Federation to accept a compromise, a deal looks likely.
“We owe it to our fans to begin the season on the weekend of September 14-15,” Italian Football Federation President Franco Carraro said.
The federation also confirmed that it was launching a review of how the sport was run was run and warned that any clubs running up big debts risked sanctions, including having championship points deducted.
“There can be no doubt that mistakes have been made with Italian soccer,” Carraro said.
“The situation is very difficult but compared to the past, at least we are now moving in the right direction.”
The eight clubs were looking for a combined 80 million euros for the rights to live coverage of home games but the two pay-TV companies were offering only 36 million euros. In contrast, Juventus, who have a separate broadcasting agreement, will receive something in the region of 60 million euros next season.
Tuesday’s pay-per-view offer does nothing to settle the League’s row with state broadcaster RAI over a fee for the weekly highlights show, but with the new starting date of the season rapidly approaching, it seems likely that the clubs will accept the latest offer.