Setanta's non-payment has its rights-holders fretting

David Hellier
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THE Scottish football authorities were yesterday fearing the worst after Setanta, the struggling pay telelvision company, missed a &pound;3m payment and gave no indication when it might be forthcoming.<br /><br />The missed payment has sent shockwaves through the Scottish football establishment which recently signed a lucrative four-year deal with Setanta worth &pound;125m.<br /><br />Last night the chairmen of the Scottish Premier League arranged a crisis meeting for later in the week.<br /><br />At this stage, analysts are unclear whether Setanta&rsquo;s move comes because it has genuinely run out of funds or whether the pay television group, which has asked rights-holders for a reduction of its rights fees, is using the delay of a payment to ramp up the pressure on the clubs.<br /><br />Setanta loses around &pound;100m a year. It has big backers in Doughty Hanson and Goldman Sachs, but so far its management has been unable to convince them it has a workable business model going forward.<br /><br />Its plight was made worse when it lost a batch of highly-prized Premier League matches.<br /><br />Setanta has recently tried to raise &pound;50m from BSkyB and ITV.