Two finals round off hectic climax to great season

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 May, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 May, 1999, 12:00am

The ManU-athon that this season has become reaches a crescendo in the next five days with live coverage of the FA Cup final (CABLE) tomorrow and the European Cup final (ESPN) on Wednesday. Following last weekend's tense finale to the Premier League campaign (CABLE) and the Cup-Winners' Cup final in midweek (ESPN) this is the icing on the cake.

Last week's dual channel tactic by CABLE was great although the decision to repeat the opposite match immediately after the live games was a flop as the live commentary included updates from the other game anyway.

Domestic league action continues in Spain and Italy, though. CABLE have Perugia v Milan on Sunday when a Milan win will seal the title. Any other result lets in lazio who are home to Parma in a finish that mirrors the Premier League finale.

And Barcelona can move another step nearer sealing the Spanish title. They are away to Alaves (ESPN).

Looking to next season, the expanded Champions' League will mean slight changes to television scheduling of this hugely popular competition.

During the qualifying rounds, which will involve Chelsea from the Premier League next season, games will be spread over two nights to cater for extra teams. These will be played on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. This means that matches in the Uefa Cup - which will also be expanded - switch from Tuesdays to Thursdays. Wednesday will be reserved for the Champions' League proper. Once that phase begins, Uefa Cup matches switch back to Tuesdays.

And, looking further ahead, one of the two firms responsible for distributing television rights for the 2002 World Cup has said the tournament will be available to all free-to-air viewers, easing fears that pay-per-view stations around the world would be muscling in on the event.