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31.01.2009 Football News

League suffers cash blow








The Ghanaian Premier League has lost US$ 2.25m in revenue after television rights holders Gateway Broadcasting Service (GBS) collapsed under the heavyweight of the global financial crisis on Friday.

The company which also broadcasts English Premier League football to tens of thousands of subscribers across Ghana went into liquidation after banks failed to raise further funding for the company late on Thursday.

GBS sealed the US$3m sponsorship deal for three years in December 2007 with the Ghana Football Association to telecast live matches on their network.

But the London-based pay per-view channel paid only US$ 750,000 of the total amount.

This will severely affect all the 16 clubs in the Ghanaian top flight as they rely heavily on the cash from television rights to pay their players.

"It's premature for us to comment now and I think we need a little bit of time to reflect on this but the news is not palatable at all," a source at Premier League Board told Ghanasoccernet.com.

The liquidation is also a massive blow to subscribers across the country who had forked out hundreds of dollars to pay for subscription until the end of the English Premier League season in July.

Some subscribers who turned on their sets to watch programmes on GBS were greeted with" with great regrets GTV announces the termination of all services

GBS or GTV as it is known in other African countries blamed "the current financial and global crisis" for the disaster.

Chaotic scenes are expected in the offices of the company in Accra, Kumasi and elsewhere from Saturday as subscribers would be demanding their monies, some of which were paid as late as yesterday.

This had "severely interrupted the company's abilities to secure further funding", it said in a statement.

Television services have been stopped - with subscribers receiving a short message telling them the channel is off the air.

The company said it had invested $200 million in the business but that "the economic crisis has caused excessive demands on the business."

Beyond that some cinema houses in Accra which used to show the live matches on match days are likely to collapse.

"DSTV lost the rights, this came to help us but with what we're hearing it will be hell for us," Mahmoud Issah, an operator told Ghanasoccernet.com

Listen to BBC's Martin Kenyon on issue in the attached audio.

For more Ghana football news visit www.ghanasoccernet.com

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