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Lack of progress over TV soccer deal

GILLINGHAM chairman Paul Scally is joining other Football League chairmen at Maine Road, Manchester, today for a meeting about the on-going ITV Digital saga.

ITV Digital's administrators today issued a statement to the Stock Exchange which admitted there has been a "lack of progress" in negotiations with the league over their television deal. The company went into administration owing the League £178.5million for the remaining two years of the TV deal. At today's meeting, it had been expected the latest offer from ITV Digital would be formally submitted.

But lawyers acting for ITV Digital's administrators sent a fax to the League's board last night withdrawing a £74million offer to settle the dispute.

The sudden withdrawal suggests Granada and Carlton may have decided they have little chance of securing a deal with the Football League and may put ITV Digital into liquidation early next week.

The Gills face a potential massive shortfall in revenue because of the collapse of the company. The TV deal would have accounted for £2.7million of the club's annual £7 million turnover.

Mr Scally has already announced the postponement of a £300,000 relaying of the Priestfield pitch and has put on hold work on the club's conference facilities, which was costing £15,000 a week. The team's pre-season trip to Tobago has also been cancelled.

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