Lagardere in African limbo as CAF contract dispute heads for Swiss courts

By Osasu Obayiuwana

December 5 – The consequences of the decision of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to terminate its $1 billion, 12-year marketing contract with Lagardere Sports (LS) continue to reverberate at the French company, with staff of its Africa Division uncertain of their future.

“The reality of losing our CAF contract is that the African football division of Lagardere has nothing to do anymore,” said a Lagardere source.

“As it is now, we are all waiting for our final moments with the company, as we begin to plan for a life elsewhere. Everything is very uncertain at the moment,” he said.

Insideworldfootball have contacted Lagardere for comment but the company refuses to comment on “commercially sensitive issues”. Insideworldfootball understands that no redundancy programme has been implemented.

According to the Lagardere source, arbitral proceedings between their company and CAF, as is the stated way of resolving contractual issues between both parties, is underway at the International Chamber of Commerce in Geneva, Switzerland.

But Insideworldfootball has not received independent confirmation of this information.

“We are hoping that our company may even get a favourable verdict from the ICC, which could really change things for our company and force CAF to look at the matter once again. But, at the very worst, we hope that our company will get a fair settlement and bring this matter to an end,” he said.

The loss of the CAF deal, in addition to the one they had with the Asian Football Confederation, is likely to affect the planned sale of Lagardere Sports, which the parent Lagardere group have tried to do for the last two years. The company’s original asking price was more than $500 million.

But with the loss of its two top clients, the company would be lucky to sell the company for half that amount, considering the prevailing market climate. It’s a far cry from the $1.3 billion that it took to form the sports division of Lagardere, following a series of mergers and acquisitions by the parent company.

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