Britain's two largest commercial ITV franchisees, Carlton Communications and Granada Media, learned Friday afternoon that they face an ‘early’ hearing of the action brought against them by the Football League.

The case, scheduled for London’s High Court, will be heard in July – a haste almost indecent in England’s archaic legal system. It relates to the £178.5 million ($260.65; €282.99m) allegedly owed to the Football League by the broadcast duo following the collapse of ITV Digital, their jointly-owned digital TV platform.

The League’s case is that it is owed £178.5m by Carlton and Granada as owners of ITVd – although the duo deny legal liability for the debt. Also at stake is the balance of the £315m, three-year broadcast rights contract that kicked-off last summer.

In his application to the court, the League’s QC, Charles Flint explained: “The clubs were expecting to receive £89m on August 1 but now that Carlton and Granada have withdrawn support for ITV Digital, rendering it insolvent, that sum will not be paid. [Payment] is vital to the Football League. A number of clubs face financial hardship if it is not paid.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff