June 11, 2021 by archyde
Canal and Vivendi in the Bolloré eradossier
Seized by the encrypted channel, the Competition Authority considered that the appeal was not accompanied by “sufficiently convincing elements”. The decision paves the way for an agreement on broadcasting rights for the next three seasons of Ligue 1.
It was the last sticking point before an outcome that could occur during the day. This Friday, the Competition Authority announced having rejected the complaint of the Canal + group concerning the last call for tenders of the Professional Football League on French football TV rights. It ruled that the referral by the Vivendi subsidiary was not matched “Sufficiently convincing evidence”. Canal + criticized the LFP for having put back on the market, in January, the only bundles of TV rights abandoned by the failing broadcaster Mediapro, instead of all the bundles. The encrypted channel thus wanted to include lot 3 (two Ligue 1 matches per day of the championship), acquired as a sub-license from BeIn Sports and which it estimated to overpay at 330 million euros the season until 2024. According to Canal + ‘s complaint to the competition gendarme, the LFP required them there “Unfair trading conditions” and discrimination “Compared to other buyers of Ligue 1 rights”.
For its part, the Autorité de la concurrence concluded that the choice not to bring into play lot 3 “Was both necessary and proportionate”. “On the one hand, indeed, it cannot be envisaged to require the LFP to terminate the contract concluded with BeIn Sports on lot 3, this contract being duly formed, having never been contested in court and being perfectly executed, indicates the Authority. On the other hand, such a requirement would be all the less justified since the LFP’s objective was to best protect its interests and those of the clubs following the failure, for which it cannot be held responsible, of Mediapro. “ Not responsible, the LFP? Canal + will certainly find fault there. Wednesday evening again, its chairman of the management board, Maxime Saada, in an interview with RMC Sport, castigated the lightness with which the TV rights had been entrusted by the LFP to Mediapro in 2018, without “Serious guarantees” and “Without prepayment”.
An agreement in sight this Friday
But the hour seems rather to appeasement. It was the last dispute still in progress between Canal and the League. Each time, the channel has been disowned. The LFP had thus won in March a first victory over Canal + at the Paris Commercial Court, which had already confirmed the legality of the LFP’s call for tenders. And last week, the Vivendi subsidiary was condemned by the commercial court to 10,000 euros in damages for having “Denigrated” the league. The broadcaster then contested postponements of matches decided by the LFP during the movement of the yellow vests.
The settlement of this dispute finally opens the way to an agreement eagerly awaited by a French football in pain. This Friday, the TV rights for the next three seasons of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 should thus be allocated to Canal + and BeIn Sports, thinks I know the team. The sports daily reports a check for 600 million euros per season, with various bonuses. Canal + would notably recover the two Ligue 1 posters on Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening. And a new channel, financed equally by the subsidiary of Vivendi and by BeIn Sports, could emerge for the broadcasting of the other meetings. Unless, last minute turnaround advanced by Echos, Amazon is joining the race. The rumor of an offer of 300 million euros per year is spinning. A board of directors of the League was convened this Friday noon, at the end of which an agreement should be announced. For French football, it would be the epilogue of a long soap opera that started last fall with the sinking of Mediapro.