Clarets set to lose money

Last updated : 27 March 2002 By Tony Scholes

That is not the case with Burnley Football Club though who, as chairman Barry Kilby said recently, have budgeted for the money they confidently expected to come in from ITV Digital for the next two years.

Only last week ITV Digital tried to force a renegotiation with a miserly offer of £50 million for the next two years rather than the £180 million agreed. The Football League said no and insisted on the full amount.

The crisis deepens almost hourly and as ITV Digital prepare to go into administration the Football League have now said they will accept half for the next two years. That in itself would be a blow to the Clarets but it gets worse, ITV Digital won't accept it. They say that they cannot even afford to pay the lesser demand and the company expect to be placed into administration within the next 24 hours.

This week Burnley Football Club have incredibly sent out advertising leaflets for ITV Digital with the season ticket information and have been selling it via the official web site. Surely even the powers that be at Turf Moor should have realised that it was on its last legs and certainly shouldn't be encouraging fans to part with any hard earned money on it.

I don't intend to even consider the ins and outs of it all but it is now a fact that Burnley FC will not be getting the sort of money they thought they would be getting. It is still possible that they will get nothing from the second and third years of the deal.

The whole future of digital television is in doubt, the leading cable company ntl: are also in dire straights and there future is anything but secure. Again the clubs could lose out because of the deal they did with ntl: for the official web sites. Burnley's web site did well for the club financially last year but it is unlikely that the sort of revenue collected will come close to being available again.

The huge amounts from television were never going to last for ever but this has happened a lot sooner and a lot quicker than anyone could have envisaged.

The question now is will ITV Sport still be on the air for the Easter games.