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Spanish court: RFEF cannot exclude Mediapro from Copa del Rey

A Spanish judge has ordered the country’s football governing body, the Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF), to cancel the award of rights to the final of the Copa del Rey and to readmit Mediapro to bidding for the match, according to the broadcaster.

According to Mediapro, a Madrid commercial court has found in favour of Mediapro’s claim that it was unfairly excluded from the bidding for the Copa del Rey final and ordered it to consider Mediapro’s bid.

The final between Barcelona and Valencia is due to take place in the Beninto Villamarín stadium in Seville on May 25. The rights to air the match were awarded by the RFEF to public broadcaster RTVE after Mediapro was excluded from the process.

The court said that the RFEF’s decision to include a clause in its bidding document banning Mediapro from taking part was an abuse of its dominant position  and was discriminatory.

Mediapro said the ruling marked a significant victory  in its legal battle with the RFEF over exclusion from the competition.

The RFEF itself issued a statement saying that it had not received any notification in relation to its award of rights to the final “that put in question the competition and the result of the award”.

It said that if in the course of the next few days it received such a notification, its legal advisors would analyse it with the objective of responding as quickly as possible.

Regulator the CNMC had previously censured the RFEF over the commercialisation of rights to the final, including ordering the body to make adjustments to its package for the final, not to withhold rights in ways that are not justified and to ensure that the process was transpanrent, non-discriminatory and competitive.

This week the CNMC ordered the body to make similar changes to the award of rights outside of Spain.

it said that its award of rights to the final to RTVE on May 10 was in line with requirements made by markets regulator the CNMC.

The broadcaster announced last month that it was taking  legal action against RFEF president Luis Rubiales over allegations that Mediapro bribed officials to secure rights to the World Cup qualifying matches in Central America and the Caribbean.

The RFEF had previously announced that it was breaking off relations with Mediapro over allegations that it had made irregular payments to secure the rights. Rubiales told the RFEF board that Mediapro would no longer qualify to bid for rights to the Copa del Rey or the Supercopa de España on the grounds that the federation would not become commercially linked with a company embroiled in allegations of corrupt practices.