TV rights row threatens start of Italy's Serie B

September 6, 2006

ROME, Sept 5 (Reuters) - The president of Italy's Football League has threatened to postpone the start of the second division Serie B season after the majority of clubs failed to reach agreement on a new television rights deal.

Serie B kicks off on Friday with a game between Arezzo and Mantova, with the main round of matches scheduled for Saturday.

'If we reach an agreement that pleases both parties, Serie B will start. Otherwise there will be a delay,' Antonio Matarrese was quoted as saying in La Gazzetta dello Sport on Wednesday.

Of the 22 clubs in Serie B only Juventus and Genoa have reached agreements for the transmission of their home fixtures.

The remaining teams have yet to sign deals despite the advances of a number of broadcasters, including state broadcaster RAI, Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset corporation and satellite broadcaster SKY Italia.

'Everything is on the table. We expect to be treated seriously, not taken for a ride. Offers should reflect the true value of Serie B,' continued Matarrese.

The prospect of a delay to Serie B threatens to add another chapter to Italian football's summer of woe.

Serie A will kick off on Saturday - two weeks later than originally envisaged - due to the legal battles that followed the judgements in the match-fixing scandal.