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Movistar+ steps in to air Saudi Supercopa

Telefónica’s pay TV service Movistar+ is to broadcast the next three editions of the Supercopa de España football competition, which is controversially being hosted by Saudi Arabia in January.

Movistar+ will transmit all of the matches from the competition, which will feature top Spanish clubs Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Atlético de Madrid and Valencia battling it out at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.

Movistar+ has stepped in after other sports broadcasters in Spain decided against bidding for the competition after governing body the Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF) decided to relocate the competition to Saudi Arabia in a lucrative three-year deal.

Mediapro, which s already in conflict with the RFEF on multiple fronts, decided not to bid for rights to the competition last month after public broadcaster RTVE and commercial players Atresmedia and Mediaset España also decided against bidding.

While Mediapro and RTVE cited human rights concerns, Atresmedia and Mediaset España reportedly decided not to bid on the grounds that the competition was not a priority and the rights were likely to be unprofitable.

After RTVE’s decision, the controversial RFEF president Luis Rubiales attacked the broadcaster for what he said was an “irresponsible attitude” and for “dragging” the commercial broadcasters into refusing to participate.

Rubiales said that RTVE planned to broadcast the Dakar Rally, which has also been relocated to Saudi Arabia. However, RTVE acquired the rights to this before the decision was taken to move the event to the Kingdom.