Computer games software company Eidos has won the licence to devise games associated with Premier League football.
The games will be the first to feature Premiership sides such as Manchester United, Arsenal and Liver- pool. Eidos also plans to construct replicas of all 22 stadiums the teams play in.
The three-year contract is understood to be worth 3m. Lawyers for both the Premier League and Eidos are currently completing contracts.
Eidos was up against US company Electronics Arts and UK-based Gremlin to win the licence.
A senior figure in the games industry says: “In the end Eidos won because it offered the most money.”
However, because of the protracted pitch for the licence, the company will not be bringing out its first game until April 1998, a month before the end of the next football season.
It is understood the Premier League is particularly keen to enforce the exclusivity of the deal, and any companies passing off their games as Premier League products will face legal action.