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Mediapro secures legal win against RFEF over Copa del Rey

Spanish producer and broadcaster Mediapro has secured a legal victory in its domestic market over its exclusion from bidding for rights to the final of the football Copa del Rey final by Spanish football’s governing body, the Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF).

The Audiencia Provincial de Madrid has rejected an appeal by the RFEF against an earlier ruling that found it had abused its position by excluding Mediapro.

The earlier ruling had forced the RFEF to re-auction the rights. However, Mediapro said tha the football body’s subsequent award of rights to RTVE, which had been awarded the rights to air the match initially, was for a bid that did not meet the reserve price and did not go to a second round.

In addition to excluding Mediapro, the RFEF had launched an invitation to tender for rights just two weeks before the deadline with a second round due to take place only four days later, which was also criticised in the original court ruling.

RFEF president Luis Rubiales had earlier cited an allegation that Mediapro was involved in bribing officials to secure rights to the World Cup qualifying matches in Central America and the Caribbean as justification for excluding the company.

The Madrid court said that this exclusion was disproportionate, noting that Mediapro had not been criminally sanctioned and had not admitted criminal responsibility.

Mediapro said that the latest ruling would serve as a precedent for future rights awards.

Separately, Mediapro France CEO Julien Bergeaud has said the group has lodged an application with media regulator the CSA for the creation of the broadcaster’s planned sports channel for France, which will house coverage of the top football matches of the country’s Ligue 1.

Mediapro has secured rights to eight matches each daily from Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 for the 2020-24 seasons, with the target of attracting 3.5 million subscribers at a fee of €25 a month.

The channel, which will be 100% devoted to football, will launch in July, according to the submission. Bergeaud did not reveal the name of the new channel or who would head up the presenter team.