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SPL revive television channel plans

The Scottish Premier League today announced plans to revisit the controversial idea of setting up their own television channel.

The league have appointed IMG Media for consultations over the potential establishment of an SPL TV station, reviving a decade-old plan.

IMG Media, who were selected from a bidding process involving more than 20 companies, will advise the SPL board over the next six months, providing a full evaluation on the prospect of a channel.

SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: "A number of other European football leagues have gone down this route or are currently exploring this option.

"It is vital that the SPL fully understands the risks and rewards from an own-channel solution, as part of our ongoing efforts to improve Scottish football.

"The concept represents an opportunity for us to shape a unique channel for fans of Scottish football and we look forward to working with supporter groups to hear their views."

The idea was originally proposed by Doncaster's predecessor, Roger Mitchell.

However, Mitchell's plan did not gain the required 11-to-one majority at a meeting in April 2002 when Celtic and Rangers abstained.

The Old Firm claimed Mitchell's idea involved too much business risk and lacked substance, and the chief executive was eventually forced to stand down.

The SPL is currently subject to a five-year £65m joint broadcast deal offered from BSkyB and ESPN, which ends in the summer of 2014.

But the clubs have the option of terminating the deal at the end of next season.

The demise of Setanta in 2009 sparked financial problems for most of the SPL clubs, as they lost a contract worth twice as much money as the TV deal they now have.

PA Media