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Italy's Materazzi to sue English press

Italian defender Marco Materazzi has opened legal proceedings against a raft of English newspapers over false reports of his behaviour during last year’s World Cup final.

Materazzi, who currently plays for Inter Milan, is issuing proceedings in the High Court against The Sun, The Daily Mail and The Daily Star newspapers for damages for libel and an injunction.

The claims arise from press reports concerning the incident which took place in the 2006 World Cup final between Materazzi and Zinedine Zidane, in which Materazzi was head-butted by Zidane. 

Twiss moves to Eurosport distribution post

Eurosport has poached Georgina Twiss from Virgin Media to become the pan-regional sports broadcaster’s new director of distribution for the UK & Ireland.

Twiss, who has been head of content acquisition, commercial strategy and business development at Virgin Media since 2004, takes up the post at Eurosport reporting in to Jean-Thierry Augustin, the deputy managing director for distribution and development across all of the broadcaster’s international portfolio.

UEFA cracks down on illegal CL streaming

In a landmark case, UEFA has obtained bankruptcy orders against three individuals who were commercially exploiting and profiting from the illegal streaming of UEFA Champions League matches.

This decision brings to a conclusion the action taken by UEFA against the individuals who were illegally operating a series of websites unlawfully streaming, and making available to paying subscribers, television coverage of UEFA Champions League matches.

IMG Media wins Rugby League World Cup deal

The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) has appointed IMG Media to act as exclusive sales agents for the international TV rights to the Rugby League World Cup 2008.

The 18-match tournament will take place in multiple locations across Australia from 25th October 2008, finishing at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on 22nd November.

Ten nations will vie for the trophy, including Australia, New Zealand, England, France, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Tonga who have already qualified.

F1 legend Walker returns to Five Live

Legendary F1 pundit Murray Walker is to make a surprise return to the commentary box since retiring in 2001, commentating on BBC Radio Five Live’s coverage of next month’s European Grand Prix. 

Walker will lend his insight to BBC Radio Five Live’s coverage of the race to be held in Germany on 22nd July.

Regular Five Live presenter Maurice Hamilton will be in the commentary box with Walker, with Holly Samos providing all the news from the pit lane, replacing David Croft who is away on paternity leave.

Murdoch warns against FAPL rights split

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, whose satellite TV firm BSkyB transformed televised football in the UK in the early 90’s, has warned that it would equate to a ‘disaster’ should the FA Premier League clubs ever decide to sell their TV rights individually.

Murdoch, who made the comments in a rare television interview for a Sky One documentary to be broadcast next week, stated: ‘It could be a disaster, I believe, if they broke up the Premier League, and freed everyone to sell their own rights.

Premium TV wins FAPL digital contract

Digital rights specialist Premium TV has won the pitch to handle the production contract for FA Premier League’s mobile and internet rights for the next three years.

Following a competitive tender process, Premium TV will provide FA Premier League licensees with near-live in match mobile clips and match highlights packages, as well as general preview and round-up programming.

For the broadband licensees the production service will also include match highlights and general round-up material.

BBC and ITV secure Euro 2008 rights

Terrestrial broadcasters the BBC and ITV have reached a joint agreement with UEFA for the live UK TV and digital rights to all 32 matches of Euro 2008.

The deal for the rights to the tournament, which takes place in Austria and Switzerland next summer, covers live and highlights coverage for TV as well as broadband and mobile rights.

The exact details of the allocation of matches per broadcaster will follow the tournament draw early next year.

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