French league crisis deepens as Canal+ hands rights back saying league is ‘devalued’

January 13 – In another major blow to French football, broadcaster Canal+ will return the Ligue 1 media rights to the LFP, demanding a new tender is issued.

In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, Canal+ boss Maxime Sadaa cited a devaluation of the league as the reason why his broadcast group will hand back the rights to the league. Canal+ believe they are now overpaying for their package of rights.

Sadaa said: “We came to the conclusion on the Canal + side that it was in the interest of all stakeholders to go through a call for tenders. We therefore sent a letter to the LFP to inform them of the return of lot 3 that beIN Sports has sublicensed us.”

Sadaa’s remarks are a new low in the fractious relationship between the league and the broadcaster, and the Canal+ chairman didn’t stop short of saying that “Ligue 1 has lost a lot of value.”

The news will leave French football reeling, with the LFP and the clubs facing a panoply of financial problems.

The LFP has taken out multiple loans to cover the parachute payments to the clubs and help them navigate the economic consequences of the global health pandemic. French football was one of the few leagues to cancel the reminder of the 2019-20 season after the global health crisis forced football to shut down. The government has however said that it will not bail out the LFP over the current rights situation.

Matches in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 are still being played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic, continuing the wipe out of matchday revenue that is crucial for many clubs.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1614683515labto1614683515ofdlr1614683515owedi1614683515sni@o1614683515fni1614683515