Ligue 1 TV rights: a conciliator appointed in the dispute between the LFP, beIN sports and Canal +

INFO LE FIGARO – On Friday, the Professional Football League and beIN sports clashed in a hearing at the Paris Civil Court. The Qatari channel announced that it had called in a conciliator.

New rebound in the case of the TV rights of Ligue 1. The Professional Football League (LFP) and beIN sports clashed in the morning of this Friday, July 30 for a first round at the Civil Court of Paris around TV rights for Lot 3 of Ligue 1, one week before the resumption of the Championship. In recent days, the Qatari-born broadcaster and the League have assigned each other in summary proceedings. Today’s hearing concerns the case brought by the League against its contractual partner beIN, which recalls the obligations and terms of their contract signed in 2018. “In this contract, it is written that if Canal + does not broadcast one or more matches, beIN Sports should automatically broadcast them.», Sums up someone close to the case.

During the hearing, beIN announced that it had called in a conciliator, whose “the objective is to find an amicable solution for all parties“. Judicial administrator Hélène Bourbouloux, well known in the French restructuring community, has been appointed as conciliator, according to information from the Figaro. A source close to the matter confides that “BeIN Sports believes that he does not have to pay a single euro for these matches. This matter must be settled between the LFP and Canal +», Indicates a source close to the case.

A few minutes after the end of the hearing, the president of beIN Sports Yousef Al-Obaidly sent an email, – that Le Figaro was able to consult -, to all of its teams to inform them of the situation. “As you will have read in recent weeks, since the allocation by the LFP of the former Mediapro TV rights on French football to Amazon, uncertainties and disputes have multiplied, writes the boss of BeIN. Throughout this period, we have constantly sought to persuade the main parties to the conflict in order to find practical solutions. However, as a company we have been subjected to very aggressive and unwarranted attacks. As a result, we have been forced to take action that we normally should not have taken – for the sole purpose of protecting our interests. One of these measures is the opening of a conciliation procedure this week, the objective of which is to find an amicable solution to face the current crisis, through a known conciliator and competent”, wrote Yousef Al-Obaidly.

Advice from Canal + was also present in court this morning. BeIN sports had designated Vincent Bolloré’s channel as co-defendant in this case.

A frozen contract termination for Canal +

At the end of the day Thursday, the president of the commercial court of Nanterre decided to freeze until Monday the request of Canal + to temporarily terminate its sub-license contract with beIN for the broadcasting of the two matches of L1, from lot 3 In the morning, beIN took the matter to court for “unlawful termination“. Two days earlier, the encrypted channel of the Vivendi group had indeed sent a letter to Youssef Al-Obaidly, CEO of beIN Media Group, to terminate their contract signed at the end of 2019, based on the “3G clause“. The latter specifies that if “Canal + buys the football rights from beIN, beIN must for its part do everything in its power to ensure that Canal + can dispose of it in the best possible way», Sums up someone close to the case.

However, since mid-June, and the attribution by the Professional Football League of the broadcasting of 80% of L1 matches to Amazon for 250 million euros from the 2021-2022 season, Canal + had not ceased to ask beIN to sue the League for “distortion of competition” and “abuse of dominant position. What beIN had refused, until the Nanterre commercial court suggested it do so last week, in its decision on the dispute between the two chains. Indeed, beIN Sports finally initiated proceedings on Tuesday against the LFP, with the Civil Court under article 11.95. “The president of the Nanterre commercial court will issue a firm decision at the start of the week. In the meantime, he decided to freeze the demand for Canal + since beIN ended up filing a complaint against the League.», Specifies a person close to the file.

Canal + stands firm

On which channel will French viewers be able to watch the first day of Ligue 1? The outcome is still uncertain. Canal + is sticking to its positions from the first day and does not intend to broadcast the matches of Lot 3, according to a source familiar with the matter.

In the current state of discussions, beIN could be forced to broadcast the two football matches on August 7 and 8 (Troyes-PSG on Saturday at 9 p.m. and Metz-Lille on Sunday at 5 p.m.), if Canal + does not do so. . Nevertheless, “no question for the Qatari channel to pay the least penny to the LFP if Canal + does not pay it»Confides a source familiar with the matter. A first installment of 56 million euros is expected on August 5. Hélène Bourbouloux, now a conciliator in this case, will be responsible for establishing the LFP, beIN and Canal + around the table to find a solution.

In the coming days, the story could still see a new twist. The League could directly sue Canal + in court. One thing is certain, a large number of scenarios are still on the table.


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