|By PADDY HIGGS
The Socceroos will be back on free-to-air television after the announcement SBS will televise Australia's AFC 2014 World Cup qualifier with Jordan on Tuesday [Wednesday morning Australian time] on a one-hour delay.
The announcement - described by Football Federation Australia as a 'one-off' - could serve as an entree to a new television rights coverage arrangement for football in Australia, with reports a long-term $40-million-a-year deal could be signed some time this week.
The Herald Sun claims Fox Sports will again be the dominant partner in the forthcoming deal, but that the A-League will be seen for the first time on free-to-air television in one live game a week from season 2013-14.
Fox Sports - television rights holders for both domestic and international football since 2005 - will reportedly continue to televise both A-League and Socceroos games, but SBS will host one live A-League game per week for the next four years from next season.
They could also broadcast Socceroos games from Tuesday's match in Jordan for the next five years.
The speculation in the Melbourne newspaper was followed soon after by a statement from the FFA revealing the coverage of the Jordan match: "I thank our long-term partners Fox Sports and Foxtel for accommodating this arrangement," FFA chief executive officer Ben Buckley said.
"Australian football would not have achieved so much growth and development since 2005 without the significant investment of Fox Sports.
"I welcome SBS's support in broadcasting Wednesday’s match. SBS has a rich history in covering domestic and international Australian football.
"FFA is currently in ongoing discussions with Fox Sports and SBS over the long-term broadcast rights in Australian football.
"The discussions have reached an advanced stage and the parties have displayed good faith, which has allowed this one-off arrangement for Wednesday's match."