Italy faces the prospect of no televised Europea football next season after UEFA admitted that talks over television rights with broadcasters in Italy had ground to a halt.
Mediaset and Sky Italia are offering only €50 million, half of what they paid up for the previous rights deal.
“At the moment there is a deadlock,” admitted Mike Lee, UEFA’s Director of Communications.
“Negotiations are not moving forward and the real value of the Champions League for TV and the clubs in Italy is not being reflected in the bids we have received.”
UEFA’s Gerhard Aigner told Gazzetta dello Sport this week that the offer is only half of the amount paid for the last rights deal.
“It is not normal,” he said. “Perhaps this situation will interest European Commission Competition head Mario Monti.”
It appears unthinkable that Italy, a key market in Europe, will be denied live Champions League football. However, UEFA will be keen to avoid setting a precedent of a reduced fee, for fear of the knock-on effect on other markets throughout Europe.
Reduced income throughout the continent will have a serious impact on UEFA’s ability to deal with the threat posed by the G-14 group, whose members have consistently sought alternative ways to increase their revenues. If UEFA fail to deliver then the demands from the G-14 group to set up their own competition, possibly in a league format, will continue to grow.