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Release Date: 27/04/2007

SKY Sports will show Northern Irish football live following a deal announced today by the Irish Football Association.

Full internationals, Under-21 matches and Carnegie Premier League games will be shown live on Sky Sports across the UK and the Republic ofIreland under the arrangement, the first between Sky Sports and the Irish FA.

The award means that Northern Ireland’s qualifying matches for the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championships will be exclusively live on Sky Sports.

The new live broadcast deal includes:

  • FULL INTERNATIONALS:  All home matches for four years from May 2008, including qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup Finals and 2012 European Championship Finals, plus friendly matches – exclusively live on Sky Sports.
  • UNDER-21 INTERNATIONALS:  At least two U-21 matches each season for four years, from the start of 2008-09 until the close of 2011-12 – exclusively live on Sky Sports.
  • PREMIER LEAGUE:  Five live fixtures each season from the Carnegie Premier League for five years, starting this August and running until the end of 2011-2012.

Announcing the agreement, Jim Boyce, President of the Irish FA, said:  “Sky Sports are at the cutting edge of sports broadcasting and we are delighted they will be bringing their expertise as a TV partner to assist us in our work, showcasing the game at all levels. The significant rights fee will also considerably strengthen the Association’s finances as we move forward.”

Howard Wells, Chief Executive of the Irish Football Association, said: “This is a very significant deal for Northern Ireland football.  It gives us distribution not only in Northern Ireland but right acrossGreat Britain and the exposure can only help us to develop our game further.”

Vic Wakeling, Managing Director of Sky Sports, said:  "It's great to be involved when the national team is doing so well.  Football fans everywhere are fascinated by what has been achieved here, and we are delighted to be able to take live coverage to a wider audience.

“But our interests in Northern Ireland football go beyond the senior team and reflect what we have done in other parts of the Sky territory.  We've had a good response to our coverage of Under-21 internationals in England, the Republic ofIreland, Scotland and Wales.  We are confident it will be the same here.  I am also hoping that our agreement to cover five Carnegie Premier League matches next season will get a good response.“

He continued:  "So far, in the history of Sky Sports, we have covered non-league football in Englandand schoolboy football including Victory Shield games involving Northern Ireland.  This is another development in our commitment to cover football at all levels, and we hope it helps the League here in their own plans for growth." 

Sky Sports currently shows live internationals featuring Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland at home and has live rights to a number of other way matches during the Qualifying campaign for the 2008 European Championships.  At youth level, the Northern Ireland schoolboys also appear live each autumn in the Sky Sports sponsored Victory Shield.

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  • Sky Sports Launch 1

    Vic Wakeling (Managing Director of Sky Sports) and Howard Wells (Chief Executive of the Irish Football Association) at today's Announcement.

    Picture: Spike Hill

  • Sky Sports Launch 2

    Picture: Spike Hill

  • sky sports
  • Sky Sports Launch 3

    The Sky Sports team, Pete Colley and Gerry Armstrong.

    Picture: Spike Hill

  • Sky Sports Launch 4

    Gerry Armstrong, Howard Wells, Vic Wakeling, Alan Mannus and Jim Boyce.

    Picture: Spike Hill

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