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League Case Against Granada and Carlton Begins!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 26/07/2002

Charles Flint QC, acting for the Football League in its case against Granada and Carlton said in the first day of hearing that the claim that Granada and Carlton gave no guarantee to cover the debts of ITV Digital was "completely implausible".

"This company was completely dependent throughout on its shareholders' support and its two shareholder parent companies had been "desperate" to secure broadcasting rights to First, Second and Third Division matches and were prepared to make any offer to achieve that end."

"Now that the business of ITV Digital has proved to be such a disaster, it suits the directors of Carlton and Granada to distance themselves from its management."

Mr Flint drew the judge's attention to the monkey mascot adopted by ITV Digital. "It was perhaps an appropriate mascot for a company which we say had no independent existence and simply did what it was told by its shareholders."

"The decision to bid £315m for broadcasting rights was made by the chairmen of Carlton and Granada, Michael Green and Charles Allen, and their directors. ITV Digital was wholly dependent on the continuing financial support of the two shareholders to meet sums due under the contract - otherwise it would have been 'hopelessly insolvent'."

"They declined to honour their commitment as guarantors, although until early this year they had each consistently stated publicly that they would continue to fund the company and pay its debts"

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