TV hope for Poppies

Imraan Ladak has offered to give away the television rights to Kettering Town's FA Cup clash with Fulham for free.

The Poppies chairman was stunned at the decision by Setanta and ITV not to include the game among their choices for the five fourth-round matches to be shown live.

So he has given them the option of playing the game at a time to suit them – and waive the 160,000 fee that would have been paid for the coverage.

While ITV has ruled out any chance of screening the full game, saying its selection has been made, the Evening Telegraph understands there may be a chance that Setanta could now show a recording of the full match later on Saturday night.

Ladak said: "I was amazed our game wasn't chosen for live coverage.

"It's a game that should be on TV and one that most neutrals would want to watch.

"I think the manager and the players also deserve the national coverage."

Ladak even told the TV companies he would be prepared to play the game on any day during the weekend of January 23-24 at any time to fit in with the TV stations' schedules.

He has written to Fulham's chairman Mohamed Al Fayed for his support.

Last night it appeared he was making progress.

An ITV spokesman said: "The fee paid to the clubs is by the FA, not the television companies, so it would be a question for the FA. We have already selected our ties for this round."

But Trevor East, director of sport for Setanta, told the Evening Telegraph: "While we cannot screen the game live, we are trying hard to get the full coverage of the game to show on Saturday night.

"I have spoken to the FA and my football guys are talking to ITV. We will know if this is possible by the end of the week."

Setanta, which covers the Blue Square Premier League, needs ITV to agree for the full game to be shown because of ITV's highlights programme.

Mr East said: "I really empathise with the people of Kettering that the game is not being shown live. It was just edged out because Nigel Clough signed for Derby and there is an additional element now to their game with Nottingham Forest."

Ladak said: "I really hope that Setanta will do everything it can to help promote one of its clubs.

"This is a massive opportunity for Kettering Town. It is incredibly rare for a non-League team to be drawn at home to a Premier League side at this stage in the cup and it would be a huge shame for this game not to be shown."

Let us know what you think of the decision by the TV companies. Do you think Ladak has a valid point or are ITV and Setanta just picking the games people want to see?

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