MILAN, May 26 (Reuters) - Italy’s top flight soccer league Serie A said on Tuesday that broadcast rights holders must pay the final instalment for the current season, which has been halted due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Serie A was suspended on March 9 and the Italian government will decide on Thursday whether it will give its permission for the championship to restart, playing matches without spectators.
Italy’s top pay-TV operator SKY, sports streaming service DAZN and global sports agency IMG have not paid the final instalment for the 2019/2020 season, totalling around 220 million euros ($242 million), sources previously said.
“Lega Serie A’s executive committee confirms ... that contractual conditions need to be respected,” the league said in a statement.
Serie A previously called on the rights holders to “respect the payment deadlines set out in the contracts in order to maintain a constructive relationship” at a meeting two weeks ago.
Sky’s chief executive Maximo Ibarra told the Ansa news agency earlier this month that it wanted to negotiate a solution with Serie A but none of its suggestions had received a response.
Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora has also suggested that matches could be broadcast free-to-air.
The instalment is part of a 1.3 billion euro annual fee which rights holders pour into Serie A’s club coffers to screen matches under a three-year agreement expiring next season.
Serie A has put off until Friday a decision on which matches should restart the league along with a discussion of a ‘Plan B’ in case the coronavirus situation made it impossible to play through the 12 remaining matchdays.
“The league analysed the various calendar hypotheses that would allow all the remaining Serie A and Coppa Italia matches to be played and decided... to look at this issue on Friday morning,” it said. ($1 = 0.9107 euros) (Reporting by Elvira Pollina and Brian Homewood Editing by Toby Davis)
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