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Setanta, the sports broadcaster, is on the brink of collapse this weekend as it struggles to agree a rescue plan with rights holders and investors.

Deloitte, the accountancy firm, is on stand-by to put the company into administration. This would mean Setanta could disappear f r o m t h e a i r w a v es immediately.

For the past six months Setanta – which has 1.2m customers, considerably short of the 1.9m needed to break even – has been desperately trying to raise new capital to meet rights’ payments.The broadcaster has until tomorrow to pay the Scottish Premier League (SPL) £3m as part of its £31m a year deal.

The SPL held an emergency meeting last Wednesday to discuss the situation and has already decided to dip into its own emergency funds to distribute the payments to member clubs.

There are also huge repercussions for the Barclays Premier League, which is awaiting a £35m payment from Setanta due on June 15.

The company’s collapse could result in a fire sale of rights, including the £425m four-year deal for England and FA Cup matches it shares with ITV. Analysts say no-one will pay anywhere near Setanta’s rates to pick up the contract.

Setanta was started in a pub in Ealing, west London, in 1990 by founders Mickey O’Rourke and Leonard Ryan who bought the rights to the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup game against Holland and screened it, charging £5 entry.

The most likely outcome is understood to be a straightforward administration with most of the rights reverting to their holders.