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Court rejects Canal+ call for suspension of football bidding

ligue de football professionnelCanal+ has failed to secure an immediate suspension of the French Professional Football League (LFP)’s call for bids for the next round of TV rights covering matches for the 2016-20 period, after the Paris Tribunal de Grand Instance decided there was no evidence to warrant an immediate ruling on the matter.

Canal+ had filed for an immediate suspension of the call for bids on the grounds that making such a call a full two years ahead of the relevant period raises competition concerns.

Canal+ complained that kicking off the bidding process so far in advance could result in it losing subscribers or failing to gain new customers as a result of uncertainty about the future of the rights. This could be the case in particular if Canal+’s rival BeIN Sport, owned by Al Jazeera, wins a significant portion of the rights on offer.

LFP president Frédéric Thiriez said that the country’s leading clubs had a “need for visibility” for revenues over the coming years.

The court ruled that there is no legal requirement for the LFP to launch its appeal within a set time limit ahead of the period for which the rights are relevant.

The contest will now go ahead, with qualitative applications to be submitted by April 2 and financial details to be finalised by April 4.

Canal+ has separately complained to the competition regulator after the LFP brought forward the bidding process in what is seen as an attempt to increase the amount of money clubs receive for TV rights.