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Tête-à-tête: Premiership's BT deal in breach of regulations, says ERC

The governing body has agreed a new four-year broadcast deal with Sky while contending that Premiership Rugby was not in a position to sell exclusive rights for European cup fixtures.

Image: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

THE ERC HAS this afternoon contested claims by Premiership Rugby that BT Vision could hold exclusive rights to certain Heineken Cup matches from 2014.

The fledgling broadcaster today announced the acquisition of exclusive rights to broadcast the Aviva Premiership.

In addition to domestic fixtures, it was also claimed they would hold exclusive rights whenever a Premiership club plays in European competition from the beginning of the 2014 season..

“Any such agreement,” says a statement from the ERC, “would be in breach both of IRB regulations and of a mandate from the ERC Board itself.

“European club rugby’s six participant Unions have granted the authority to sell broadcast rights to its tournaments solely to ERC.”

Perplexingly, the statement added that Premiership Rugby already agreed to offer Sky Sports an additional four-year exclusive rights package earlier this summer.

“It was unanimously agreed at an ERC Board meeting on 6 June, 2012 that ERC would conclude a new four-year agreement with Sky Sports for the UK and Ireland exclusive live broadcast rights to the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup until 2018. Premiership Rugby was party to that decision.”

A statement announcing that new deal with Sky has been issued simultaneously with the ERC’s ‘questioning’ of the BT Vision agreement.

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Sean Farrell

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