Football Association touting rights after Setanta's demise

THE FOOTBALL Association (FA) and the owners of other sports rights previously held by Setanta are desperately searching for new buyers to fill the payment void left by the collapse of the Irish pay-TV broadcaster.<br /><br />Setanta held the rights to the English and Scottish Premier Leagues, Premier Rugby, PGA golf, FA Cup and England football matches. <br /><br />But those rights reverted back to their owners on Tuesday, after Setanta announced that its UK operations had been placed in administration.<br /><br />The FA had a four-year deal with the Irish broadcaster worth &pound;150m, of which &pound;100m is understood to be outstanding. The FA is confident any shortfall will be a cut in profits rather than a loss.<br /><br />&ldquo;We remain confident in the strength of these fixtures and expect significant interest,&rdquo; said FA chief executive Ian Watmore.<br /><br />ESPN, which bought Setanta&rsquo;s Premier League rights on Monday, said it is interested in &ldquo;any rights which make business sense&rdquo;, suggesting that it was not prepared to pay over the odds.<br /><br />A further deterrent to buyers could be the clause in FA&rsquo;s contract that will see ITV pick up the rights to England&rsquo;s home friendlies and get first pick of the FA Cup matches.