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Al-Jazeera to compete for Sky's Premier League rights - report

The broadcaster is danger of losing their rights to show top flight English football according to the league’s chief executive.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore.
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore.

SKY’S CONTROL OF the English Premier League broadcasting rights for Britain and Ireland could be at risk, according to Richard Scudamore.

The current agreement that allows Sky to show Premier League games reaches the end of its three-year cycle in August 2013.

The Premier League intend to put out an ‘invitation to tender’ (ITT) for the next cycle, which will open up a bidding process based on deliverable quality of service.

And after beating Canal+ to secure Ligue 1 and UEFA Champions League rights in France, Al-Jazeera, which is owned by the Qatari royal family, are expected by industry experts to make a bid to end Sky’s partnership with the Premier League.

Despite recognising the positive impact Sky have had on English football, the relationship between the two organisations has become strained in recent years and the league’s chief executive Scudamore said there were no guarantees they would keep hold of Premier League viewing rights.

Of course we have huge regard for them and respect, Sky’s made it a fantastic impact on our business,” Scudamore said on Wednesday.

“Ultimately whatever umbilical cord there might be as an ongoing working commercial relationship – that gets severed when the ITT gets issued and once we’re in the process there’s nothing they can do other than be the best bidder to win those rights.”

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Sky have dominated the market and provided Ireland and the UK with live Premier League coverage since the competition’s inception 20 years ago.

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