Italian soccer deal shooting wide

Annual fee of $62 mil lower than last year

MILAN — Italy’s soccer season may not start on Saturday even though pubcaster RAI has inked a three-year, $62 million broadcast deal with soccer bosses.

The season has already been delayed two weeks because of a row over the cost of the rights — and eight top-flight clubs are still holding out for more.

The $62 million to show game highlights of Serie A and B matches plus Italian Cup games, is significantly lower than the $86 million that RAI paid the league last year.

More importantly, it is considered insufficient by the eight squads of the 18-team Serie A league that don’t have pay-per-view contracts with feevee platforms Stream and Telepiu, meaning all their home matches will not be screened.

Telepiu and Stream have offered the eight clubs $52 million, but they are demanding $10 million each for rights to live coverage of their home games.

Big deals

“The championship will not start in this manner. In this situation we are not playing,” AS Roma presi-dent Franco Sensi maintained.

However, League and AC Milan president Adriano Galliani insists the season will start Saturday, adding that any clubs not present will be penalized. The Soccer League is due to meet on Wednesday to thrash out the matter.

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