The Nanterre commercial court on Friday authorized the encrypted channel to suspend the sub-license contract with beIN sports for the broadcasting of two matches per day of Ligue 1.
A round won for Canal +, synonymous with new chaos for French football? Two weeks before the resumption of the Ligue 1 Championship, the Nanterre commercial court ruled this Friday afternoon in favor of the encrypted channel in the dispute between it and beIN Sports, according to sources close to the broadcasters at AFP. Canal + can get rid of its sub-license contract of 332 million euros per year, for two league matches (Saturday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m.), signed in 2018 with the Qatari-born broadcaster until ‘in 2024.
Since mid-June and the allocation by the Professional Football League (LFP) of 80% of L1 matches to Amazon for 250 million euros, the encrypted channel has been shouting at the “Distortion of competition” and had announced his intention to “Withdraw from Ligue 1”. And therefore no longer pay beIN Sports, which took him to court on July 15. By notifying him by mail two days earlier that it was suspending this sublicense, the Vivendi group channel had not honored the first payment of 500,000 euros that it owed it.
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beIN now has the cards in hand
Does the court decision mark the start of another legal battle? Indeed, beIN Sports does not seem to intend to pay the bill directly to the LFP. Even though the first installment, in the amount of 56 million euros, is expected on August 5.
In its decision on Friday, however, justice explained that Canal + should honor its contractual obligations with the Qatari channel, if the latter finally decides to initiate proceedings against the LFP. Because beIN could question the prices charged by the LFP for the lot between Amazon and Canal +. What Canal + had asked in vain in recent days.
Concretely, if beIN decided to attack the LFP, Canal + would then find itself in the obligation to pay and to broadcast matches of Ligue 1. An option under study as indicated by a spokesperson for BeIN Sports France shortly after the decision of the Nanterre Commercial Court: “We take note of the summary decision of the Commercial Court of Nanterre which obliges us to sue the League in order to force Canal + to respect its contract. We are currently studying all possible legal options. After more than a year of chaos following the failure of Mediapro, it is unfortunate that French football still faces such uncertainty a few weeks before the resumption of the season“, He explained. The vagueness persists in fact concerning the outcome of this saga of TV rights.
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