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Al Jazeera not to bid for Premiership rights

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Al Jazeera has decided not to bid for the Premier League television rights when the next auction starts in August for a three year period.  Al Jazeera had been seriously considering such a move as part of its plans to build a global sports brand.

The form of the packages to be offered has not yet been decided, but the Premier League had been hoping that Al Jazeera, backed by Qatar's gas and oil wealth, would go head-to-head with Sky.  It now looks as if only BSkyB and ESPN will be involved in the main packages.

A comment issued by Citigroup said: 'The bidding process will potentially have more twists and turns, making the process more complicated to analyse.   In general, though, the direction of travel is favourable to BSkyB.  The move to pan-European rights, if that happens, would raise the barriers to entry into the auction while reports of Al Jazeera's non-involvement, if confirmed, suggest the bidding process will stay rational.'

This means that is is unlkely that there will be a significant real terms increase in revenue for clubs of the kind that has been seen in the past, but they are unlikely to see the key television revenues diminish.