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Orange pulls back from race for football TV rights

France Telecom/Orange has confirmed that it will not bid for the main set of French football rights in 2012, but will be a candidate for mobile rights, according to local reports.

The move leaves the field open for rival Canal Plus, which has already indicated that it will not be willing to pay the same amount again for the main TV rights on their own, which it considers to be overvalued.

The French football league, the LFP, has also raised the possibility of launching its own premium TV service and retaining the rights itself. Another possibility that has been mooted is that it might acquire France Telecom’s Orange Sport channel, which is now for sale following the telco’s decision not to compete again for TV rights.