Mediapro wins ‘abuse of power’ court ruling against Spanish FA over rights tender

Scales of justice

February 6 – Spanish-owned sports agency Mediapro has won another court battle against the Spanish FA (RFEF) in the Provincial Court of Madrid. The court reconfirmed its initial ruling to dismiss the RFEF’s attempt to have the agency excluded from tendering for rights to the Copa del Rey final.

The RFEF had appealed against the Madrid court’s precautionary measures that allowed Mediapro to tender. However Mediapro asserted that by blocking it from tendering the RFEF was abusing its dominant position.

The enmity between Mediapro and the RFEF has been intense with the RFEF saying it excluded Mediapro from the tender on the basis that another company in the group had been held criminally liable. Imagina, a north America sports rights agency associated with Mediapro and its principals, was one of the marketing agencies implicated in the FIFAgate scandal.

The Provincial Court in its ruling stated: “If we analyze the clause in question, we share with MEDIAPRO that it is disproportionate to exclude a company from bidding only because another company in the corporate group it belongs to has been declared criminally liable. In this regard, the appeal highlights that neither MEDIAPRO nor the group’s parent, JOYE MEDIA S.L., have ever been held criminally liable nor have they recognized their criminal responsibility or that of their managers in the crimes referred to in the contested clause.”

Although Mediapro were allowed to bid it ultimately was to no effect. “Surprisingly and after incorporating Mediapro’s offer into the bids received, the RFEF decided to directly award the tender to a bidder whose offer did not reach the reserve price and failed to go to the second round,” said the agency.

Mediapro has a number of ongoing disputes with the RFEF over the company’s right to participate in tenders issued by the RFEF or any other sports organisation. No appeal can be filed against Madrid court resolution. Mediapro said it “will continue to apply the same legal defense criteria to prevent the RFEF from continuing along the path of non-compliance with the law despite the high ethical standards that it claims to have set.”

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