No English football TV deal for Qatar's Al Jazeera

Premier League chief refuses to confirm Qatari broadcaster was one of bidders
The English Premier League is the worlds richest football league (AFP/Getty Images).
By Andy Sambidge
Wed 13 Jun 2012 09:11 PM

The English Premier League said on Wednesday it had awarded live broadcast rights for 2013-16 to BSkyB and British Telecom.

BSkyB has secured five packages totalling 116 matches while BT won two packages totalling 38 matches in deals worth £3.018bn.

Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera, which beat Canal Plus to the French Ligue 1 and Champions League rights last year, was expected to be part of the bidding process.

Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, refused to be drawn into naming the unsuccessful bidders but told Sky TV that the doors remained open to international broadcasters for future bids.

There was no immediate statement from Al Jazeera on whether it was part of the bidding process.

Scudamore added in a statement: "The Barclays Premier League continues to provide excellent football and enthralling drama as we saw last season. The value this drives for our rightsholders is evident and we are extremely pleased that this has been realised for our UK live rights.

"As ever, the security provided by broadcast revenues will enable our clubs to continue to invest in all aspects of their football activities and plan sustainably for the foreseeable future.

"The continuing support of BSkyB for Premier League football is significant beyond the revenues delivered; the longevity and quality of their commitment has done much for the English game as a whole. We are very happy to see this relationship maintained for another three seasons.

"We welcome BT as a new Premier League broadcast partner. They are a substantial British company that is at the leading edge of technology and infra-structure development.

"I would also like to place on record the Premier League's thanks to the numerous other highly credible bidders that showed such interest in the live UK rights."

In February, a senior TV executive hinted that the Qatari firm could challenge Sky for the rights to broadcast live Premier League football in the UK.

Ross Hair, ESPN's head of Europe, Middle East and Africa, said he believed Al Jazeera could challenge Sky for the next three-year contract.

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