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'It's absolutely nonsense'
Ecclestone denies role in rival bid for Manchester United
Posted: Monday September 21, 1998 12:08 PM
LONDON (AP) -- Bernie Ecclestone, the multi-millionaire head of Formula One, has denied a role in trying to out-bid Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB television for Manchester United.
Ecclestone was linked in reports over the weekend to a 700-million-pound (US$1.18 billion) bid by an unnamed group hoping to top the 623-million pound (US$1.05 billion) offer from BSkyB.
"It's absolutely nonsense. Fairy tales," Ecclestone said in an interview in Monday's edition of The Daily Telegraph.
"I don't know where these people get these things. I am not the slightest bit interested in buying a football club.
"The last thing I would ever do is go head-to-head with Rupert Murdoch. It wouldn't make sense."
The British Office of Fair Trading will make a recommendation to British Trade Secretary Peter Mandelson by October 12 whether the deal constitutes a monopoly. BSkyB also holds the rights to the English Premier League.
However, Ecclestone did say he was interested in plans by Milan-based Media Partners to form a breakaway European Super League involving clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, Juventus, Inter and AC Milan, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
However, a Media Partners spokesman said Ecclestone had made no investment in the project.
"I've been discussing the current situation with Media Partners for eight months," Ecclestone said. "My involvement would be a set-up thing rather than day-to-day management, but I don't know what the extent of my investment would be."
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