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BT Sport has criticised the decision to award a three-year contract for live coverage of Spain's La Liga to Sky Sports.

News filtered through this week that Sky had managed to extend its partnership with Spain's top football league in an £18 million a year deal.

The announcement shocked many within the industry after the broadcaster had previously seemingly pulled out of the running in protest at the decision to take the rights to a second round of bids, despite Sky having made by far the biggest initial offer.

Spanish-based selling agency Media Pro told BT Sport it was to then begin the preparation of a contract with the firm, which already boasts exclusive UEFA Champions League, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A coverage for the upcoming season.

However, Media Pro then backtracked, returning to Sky to ask about re-opening negotiations, which resulted in Sky paying less than what it had initially offered.

Despite BT being reportedly angered by the U-turn, a spokesman for the company said it was still confident that it would be able to compete in an increasingly intense landscape.

He stated: “BT is not surprised that Sky has retained rights to La Liga. The best games featuring the top Spanish teams will feature in our exclusively live rights to 351 premium quality matches from the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League this season."

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