PIRATES chief Matt Ford believes a new television deal for British speedway could result in top stars heading to the SGB Premiership.

There are hopes BT Sport will be enticed back for 2018 after the broadcaster screened live coverage of the top flight this year.

And Ford knows the events of next week's AGM – at which key rule-making decisions will be made – will be largely dictated by whether a TV deal has been struck.

He told the Daily Echo: "Much of what will happen will depend on the television contract. At this point in time, that is yet to be secured.

"While I am hopeful all the clubs currently in the Premiership will come back to the tapes – and there is talk of another coming as well – there are many things to be discussed in terms of race nights and rider availability.

"We were in the position at Poole last year where we were looking to make changes and it was nigh-on impossible to get anyone to come to the UK.

"Internationally, there are different things happening. There is a very good chance that if we go to set race nights, it will open the doors to certain riders returning or some riders trying England for the first time.

"But of course, all this is dependent on securing a television contract."