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Green light for Serie A start

Published: Tuesday 10 September 2002, 19.00CET
The delayed Italian season will begin on Saturday after a pay-TV deal was agreed. features

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Published: Tuesday 10 September 2002, 19.00CET

Green light for Serie A start

The delayed Italian season will begin on Saturday after a pay-TV deal was agreed.

The meeting between the Italian government and the presidents of the Serie A clubs has ended with an agreement to begin the new season on 14 September, the rescheduled start date that the eight clubs without a pay-per-view TV deal for the new season had threatened to boycott. The arrangement came after the six wealthiest teams in Italy offered a one-off payment to help the
smaller clubs.

Key meeting
Atalanta BC, Brescia Calcio, AC Chievo Verona, Como Calcio, Empoli FC, Modena FC, AC Perugia and Piacenza FC, the clubs who formed the consortium Plus Media Trading (PMT) in order to negotiate the TV deal, have agreed to start the season on Saturday after a three-hour meeting with key government figures. Today's meeting was held by culture and sport minister Giuliano Urbani, his under-secretary Mario Pescante and the prime minister's under-secretary Gianni Letta. 

Still fighting
The presidents of the eight clubs met in Verona yesterday and decided that they would continue their battle to change the rules for television broadcasting rights but would not hold up the Serie A kick-off any longer. Italy's two pay-TV platforms, Telepiu and Stream, raised their offers to the consortium to around €52m last week but the proposal was rejected. The eight clubs have demanded €10m each for rights to live coverage of their home games.

'Economic contributions'
Pescante said: "The season will start on Saturday and this is what we were all hoping for. The agreement has been reached with the important co-operation of bigger clubs.” Lega Calcio’s president and Milan AC general manager Adriano Galliani added: “We have agreed that richer clubs like Milan AC, Juventus FC, Internazionale FC, AS Roma, S.S. Lazio and Parma AC will give an economical contribution to the other 12 clubs. It was important to bring our country back to normality.”

'Big step back'
"You can never be completely satisified after a dispute," said Como president Enrico Preziosi. "Despite the contrbution of bigger clubs we were the ones to take a big step back from what we were asking for in the beginning of the negotiations. However, it's really important that the championship will start on Saturday.”

Last updated: 11/09/02 11.22CET

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