The fate of Setanta Sports hangs in the balance, with time running out for the stricken broadcaster.

Another emergency board meeting to try to stave off administration was held last night with directors considering a last-ditch rescue package.

It also emerged yesterday that BSkyB refused a £50m lifeline to the Irish broadcaster - with a payment of more than £30m due to the Premier League this week and backers refusing to advance any more money.

Setanta had asked Sky for the £50m in return for giving Sky access to the live rights Setanta holds to 46 Premier League games next season.

Sky's Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch said it was 'a broadcaster not a bank', but insisted it had no wish to see Setanta go into administration.

Setanta's subscription services for new customers also became unavailable yesterday.

Internet applicants were flashed a message saying: 'Oops! Something has gone wrong...'.

Setanta's customer services confirmed to callers that new subscriptions were unavailable due to a 'technical problem'.

Another broadcaster, ESPN, is favourite to step in and take over Setanta's Premier League games if it goes into administration.

The Premier League should not be too badly affected should Setanta go into administration as it has only won one of the six live broadcast packages for 2010 to 2013.

The British Football Association, which has a £150m deal for England and FA Cup games with Setanta, and the Scottish Premier League have more significant problems.