Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore revealed in a Daily Mail report that British broadcasting giants Sky could lose the rights to broadcast the Premier League for the next three years if they are outbid by Al Jazeera, a broadcasting company based in Qatar.
Sky, who have held broadcasting rights for 20 years, face a serious threat from Al Jazeera, who have already acquired rights to the French league, from Canal Plus. If outbid, the Premier League, bound as they are by regulations, will have no choice but to award the Middle Eastern company the rights.
"Our current arrangements - and I see no reason why our future arrangements won't have to be - are regulated, and are regulated heavily. Our packages are put out into the open market and we have to have an open tender for those packages. We have to sell to the highest compliant bidder," the UK Press Association quoted Scudamore as saying.
"Whilst, of course, we have a huge regard and respect and Sky's made a fantastic impact on our business, ultimately whatever umbilical cord there might be as an ongoing, working, commercial relationship, that gets severed once that tender gets issued. There's nothing they can do other than be the best bidder to win those rights," he added.
Furthermore, Scudamore also added that the Premier League, which had earlier sold the rights on a territory-by-territory basis, is considering the idea of wholesale deals, including most countries in Europe.
"We have two scenarios we are weighing up. One of the implications of the [courts'] decision is that we are still working on whether we might actually sell rights on a pan-European basis. We are still actually deliberating whether we should sell on a territory-by-territory basis, or whether with what's happened [in the court ruling] with the freedom of movement it's actually more applicable and you would actually get better protection or a better return if you sold on a pan-European basis," The Telegraph quoted Scudamore as saying.