The EPL's decision to terminate Setanta's £392million contract to broadcast 46 live matches came after the company failed to meet its £10million installment obligation. The EPL also declined a 72 hour extension as Setanta deadlocked in negotiations with a tie up with Top TV's Len Blavatnik tried to find a way out which would have infused the troubled broadcaster with £20 million.
Payments currently due to the individual SPL clubs range in size from £70,000 to nearly £750,000, with the Old Firm obviously taking the greatest hits. Yet Rangers and Celtic can probably withstand such setbacks -- it is the smaller clubs who will feel the losses more deeply.
The problem is that there is no one in the horizon who will want to take up broadcasting SPL matches at that current £125 million fee spread over four years. Apart from the Old Firm rivalry, there is no real payoff in telecasting St Mirren playing Hibernian. The Beeb and ESPN have already expressed their unwillingness to show these matches.
It is no wonder that SPL administrators are in panic holding up a banner that read:
"For Sale, Scottish Football. All Bids Welcome."
The SFA has had to dip into their cash reserves to reimburse individual clubs when Setanta failed to make a £3million installment. Gordon Smith, the SFA chief also made clear that it will be in no condition to fund a SPL bailout. Setanta's withdrawal would mean the end of a £13.5million contract for next season.
"We do give money to the clubs at the end of the year but we are not in the position to fund that level of shortfall."
He spelled out the situation for the clubs.
"We have six teams in Europe this year, so you can imagine that these clubs will all be competing in Europe without any budget and a lot of them can't make any spending at the moment until they know the situation."
Setanta's terminated contract means Sky Sports will benefit from an additional business of 23 matches to an already existing package of 92 games with ESPN picking up the license to show the remaining 23 games.
The EPL decision will affect not just the SPL, even the FA also needs to find another TV partner to take over the £150million contract to show England's matches.