VAR referral results in win for Mediapro and €2.1m loss for RFEF

March 17 – The bad blood between the Spanish football federation (RFEF) and Mediapro, one of the world’s biggest sports media organisations that is headquartered in Spain, has continued with the latest victory going to the agency with a €2.1 million compensation win.

The RFEF has been judged to have abused its dominant position that effectively excluded Mediapro from a VAR tender that was issued in 2019. Commercial Court nº 3 in Madrid sentenced the RFEF to pay compensation of €2,125,369 to Mediapro ruling that the conditions of the tender included irregular clauses which directly benefited one of the two bidders, a maneuver prohibited under Article 2 of Spain’s Antitrust Law and Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Mediapro argued that the tender was rigged in its technical specifications “to ensure the contract was awarded to one specific operator, weighting higher the number of competitions in which the VAR service had been provided, and meaning that the cost and technical quality of service became irrelevant.

“MEDIAPRO submitted the best value for money bid, representing cost savings in the region of €1 million compared to the winning bid,” said a company statement. Mediapro provides VAR services to 17 competitions worldwide.

The RFEF is on a losing streak in terms of its commercial management. This January it lost another abuse of dominant position case after excluding Mediapro from the award for domestic rights to the Copa del Rey for the 2019-2022 cycle. The damages to be paid have yet to be settled but will be millions of Euros.

The federation, in a separate case, was also fined €200,000 for revealing data from a meeting held between LaLiga and the Spanish Footballers Association after the RFEF leaked audios from the meeting to the media without the consent of the attendees.

RFEF president Luis Rubiales (pictured) is also facing a defamation case in Switzerland and has been summoned to appear before a Swiss judge after comments he made in a meeting at UEFA about LaLiga and Mediapro were leaked to the press. The hearing in that case is now scheduled for April 12.

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