CASH-STARVED Swansea City and Wrexham will today step up the pressure on the owners of collapsed broadcaster ITV Digital to try to re-coup their share of the £178.5m television money owed to Football League clubs.
Wrexham and Swansea will join representatives from most of the other 70 Nationwide sides to protest outside the London offices of Carlton and Granada over their failure to honour the remaining two instalments of ITV Digital's £315m three-year contract to televise live matches.
But Second Division Cardiff City, one of the few fortunate clubs who do not rely on the television money, last night refused to confirm whether they would join the Swans and The Red Dragons in the protest.
Clubs left on the brink of bankruptcy when ITV Digital folded were handed a lifeline last week when it was announced the league had secured a new £95m deal with Sky to screen Nationwide and Worthington Cup matches.
But they are determined to press ahead with action against Carlton and Granada, beginning with today's protest and culminating in the case being heard at the High Court in London on July 26.
"The fact the league has secured a new TV deal with Sky does not mean the pressure is off Carlton and Granada," said Swansea managing director Don Goss, who will represent the club in London along with non-executive director Don Keefe.
"The protest gives us the chance to impress upon the companies how vital a source of income the TV money is. We must fight to receive what is owed." Wrexham vice-chairman David Rhodes, who will be the North Wales club's representative in London today, said, "It is important we keep up the pressure on Carlton and Granada.
"What shocked me is that these companies believed they would be awarded the digital licences again last week (they went to the BBC and Sky).
"That would have been an absolute disgrace after what happened with ITV Digital. Clubs like Wrexham depend on the TV money and we must do everything we can to recover it."
In addition to today's lobby, Wrexham, Swansea and Cardiff have each been allocated a day to protest outside the offices of Carlton and Granada leading up to the High Court case.
The Ninian Park club have been nominated for July 15, Swansea July 25 and Wrexham July 26.
Following discussions with the Metropolitan Police, it has been agreed that no more than 50 supporters per club be allowed to take part in the two-hour protests.