Stunned. Club presidents were amazed to discover Maxime Saada’s statements to the Figaro, Tuesday January 12. The boss of Canal + sent them a most disturbing message, asserting that the broadcasting rights of the French football championship had lost a lot of value. All understood that the one they saw as a potential savior, after the defection of the short-lived Mediapro, would not come to their rescue so easily.
Main surprise, while time is running out and the boxes are emptying, bending under the crisis due to Covid-19, Maxime Saada calls for a new call for tenders and even wishes ” return “ the two matches acquired from BeIN Sports. What does Canal + want? Draw a line on the expensive Ligue 1? Or get a simple discount? Detailed review of a liar poker game to several strangers.
Why ask for a call for tenders?
This is the irony of the matter. Initially, it was the Professional Football League (LFP) which kept this option up its sleeve, in the event that negotiations by mutual agreement with Canal + would fail. Dramatic change, Maxime Saada expressed this weekend his desire to resort to a call for tenders, and to return in this context the lot he owns, and of which he estimates that the price – 330 million euros per year – is overvalued.
Officially, it would be a question of purging any legal risk. The boss formalized this request on Monday January 11 in writing. In the process, the LFP sent him an end of inadmissibility. The latter considers that such a procedure is not necessary, insofar as it fulfilled its legal obligations by organizing a call for tenders two years ago. Even in the event of a public consultation – which could be quickly organized – it would be out of the question to include the batch of BeIN Sports.
In fact, that would mean for the LFP to deprive itself – at least the time of the procedure – of the only television receipts which remain to it. Too great a financial risk for football, which is already very indebted. The demand for Canal + is all the more incomprehensible given that a discussion started this fall provided for the price of all the lots to be overhauled. This would then have made it possible to revise the price of Lot 3 without interrupting payments.
Qatar’s appetite for Ligue 1 is the blind spot in the negotiations. Despite his request, Maxime Saada cannot ” return “ its Saturday matches, which are the subject of a sub-license agreement signed with BeIN Sports, says a source. For which motive ? The Qatari group expects to see Canal + come and justify its request, arguing that the throw-in of the rest of the championship nullifies the exorbitant prices set in 2018. But it would in any case be for BeIN Sports to go see the League.
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