THE First Minister, Alex Salmond, is being reportedly being urged to use his friendship with media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, to help Scottish football.
It follows concerns that Murdoch’s satellite broadcaster, BSkyB, might seek to reduce how much it pays to televise the Scottish Premier League following a decision to deny entry to the SPL by a newco. Rangers FC – following its recent liquidation.
On Friday, the Scottish Football League then placed the newco. into their Third Division.
Scotland on Sunday reports (http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/alex-salmond-urged-to-step-into-rangers-newco-row-1-2412825): “Salmond indicated in general terms yesterday that he would be prepared to use his government’s ‘influence’ to lobby on Scottish football’s behalf, but he made no commitment on timing. His spokesman said: ‘Once the football authorities finally decide on their course of action and show a willingness for reconstruction and reform, the Scottish Government stands ready to use [its] influence to secure the best deals from sponsors.’”
Recently, Salmond has been criticised for the seeming warmth of his relationship with Murdoch, including having to fend off various attacks during First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament.
Scotland on Sunday continues: “[The spokesperson] added: ‘The First Minister is amused that Labour MSPs are now demanding that he has meetings with Rupert Murdoch and BSkyB. However, the First Minister will always represent the Scottish interest.’”
The Sunday Herald (http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/sky-will-stay-loyal-to-spl-without-rangers-says-former-station-boss.18153575) meanwhile quotes a former executive producer at Sky predicting the broadcaster “will be loyal” to the SPL. Scot, Colin Davidson is quoted, as saying: “What Sky are facing now is a very different set of circumstances in the SPL. Without Rangers it is a diluted product for any broadcaster. They may well want to renegotiate the contract.
“All Sky have to do is listen. It will be up to the SPL to convince them to stay. What they won’t do is pay them more money than the product is worth. The deal is worth far more to the SPL than it is to Sky.
“If they renegotiate, I think the SPL has done well. I do think Sky will be loyal. They have, historically, been very loyal partners. When they enter into a partnership with any organisation they do their best to be as supportive as they positively can.”
Adds SoS: “[BSkyB] are due to sign a new annual contract this summer, although its existing deal still has a year to run. Doubts have been expressed about whether BSkyB would want to continue televising a Scottish Premier League that was deprived of one half of the Old Firm [of Celtic and Rangers], or whether it would be willing to pay as much for the privilege.”
Pictured: Dunfermline Athletic FC chair, John Yorkston, speaks to the media outside Hampden Park stadium in Glasgow. On Friday, he and fellow SFL club chairs voted on accepting newco. Rangers into the SFL.