Football Italia is a Programme shown here in the U.K.
Sadly this season Channel 4 Pulled the plug on it:
Channel 4 have pulled the plug on their coverage of Italian football after ten years. The reluctant decision comes after the rights holders in Italy rejected talks over a new reduced deal.
David Kerr, Head of C4 Sport, confirmed the news after months of speculation which started with the ending of live Sunday afternoon coverage last season.
"Sadly we have been unable to reach an agreement on a new Football Italia rights contract. We had no plans to resume live coverage of Serie A next season, but would have liked to continue with Gazzetta on Saturday mornings.
"We opened talks with the rights holders, but ultimately they had unrealistic expectations of the potential fees involved, a situation not helped by the general confusion over Serie A rights in Italy itself. Sadly, therefore, we will not be screening Football Italia next season.
"We are enormously proud of our decade of Serie A coverage and our thanks goes out to Chrysalis - our production company - and the many individuals who helped make it one of the best football programmes around. James Richardson deserves a particular mention. His quirky, irreverent style was really the heart of the show's distinctiveness, and we know he - and his cakes - will be missed by his many fans. We wish James and all associated with Football Italia the very best in the future."
James was Football Italia's only front-line presenter from the very first programme in September 1992 until the last this May. He hosted every live match on Sunday afternoons and presented Gazzetta every Saturday morning - getting a helping hand in the early days from a certain Paul Gascoigne.
When Sunday night highlights were introduced last season, James presented those from a multitude of well-known Italian sites. But with further reduced coverage planned for this coming season, he had already been brought back to London by Chrysalis, suggesting the future for Italian coverage was looking bleak.
Although cash for television rights worldwide have been plummeting, highlighted by the demise of ITV Digital's coverage of the Nationwide coverage in England, the Italian rights holders could not be persuaded to lower their sights. With the start of the season planned for September 1, C4 felt they could wait no longer to plan their schedule.
The decision throws questions over the long-term futures of this website and the official magazine. But John D Taylor, Editor of the television shows during the first three years and now Managing Director of its two affiliates, says: "I still feel there is massive interest in Serie A football in the UK and abroad. Negotiations are already under way for a 'new' Italia magazine to build on the sound foundations of the current one. The website currently gets over one million hits a month, again proving there is a healthy future for it - albeit away from the C4 site.
"We will keep fans fully informed about how they can continue following Italian football on the net and through a magazine. But with Sky, ITV and BBC currently bursting at the seams with soccer coverage and C5 showing no sign of interest, television coverage may be somewhat more uncertain."