Sky's greed affecting football's integrity

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On Wednesday evening Brighton & Hove Albion ran Liverpool close in the Carling Cup Third Round.

Ashley Barnes, the club's top scorer this season, netted a late penalty to set up a tense finish in front of the largest crowd to watch a game at the Amex Stadium since it opened at the start of the season.

Manger Gus Poyet had already thrown on lively winger Kazenga LuaLua, Spaniard Vicente and Barnes to help force an equaliser.

Dirk Kuyt temporarily extinguished any hope of a Seagulls comeback with Liverpool's second, but Barnes' spot kick reignited the hosts' hopes.

It meant that for 90 minutes, Brighton were fighting tooth and nail to secure their passage into the fourth round.

Just 48 hours later, they'll be taking on Leeds United in the Npower Championship, where they lie third after five wins in seven games.

Despite the prestige of playing against Liverpool in the League Cup, Poyet knows the priority is the club's league form, where he believes the club could even achieve a second promotion in as many years.


Unfortunately, when they welcome Leeds to the Amex on Friday night, many of their players, who battled hard against the Reds on Wednesday will be left feeling the affects of the grueling cup tie.

The reason behind why Brighton will play twice within such a short space of time falls at the feet of Sky Sports, who scheduled both Wednesday's and Friday's games to show live on TV.

Even for a club of Brighton's size, a share of £65 million television money available is too good an offer to turn down, and as a result they effectively give Sky the right to alter their schedule.

Reportedly, when requested, Sky refused to move the fixture on the Friday night after naming Liverpool's trip to Sussex as one of their two League Cup live games.

Frankly why the Football League, who organise both competitions, couldn't step in and alter the date of one of the games, to protect one of their clubs from being unfairly disadvantaged is beyond me.

Leeds, who themselves featured on Sky on Tuesday, albeit in a less competitive game against Manchester United, were able to rest some of their star names in the latter stages and will go into Friday's encounter as favourites ahead of the heavy legged Albion.

Clubs are now so dependent on the money they receive from television companies, that they're relinquishing their right as the club.

This must be considered as much the fault of the club, for becoming reliant on these finances, as many were during the days of ITV Digital, as it is for the television companies, who have used the club's need for the cash as leverage to gain control of kick off times, for which they should be condemned.

With the way the Barclays Premier League distribute their TV rights set to be altered next month, perhaps the rights Football League clubs have should also be looked at. Because at the moment, they're being exploited no end.

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