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Canal+ and BeIN Sports make peace with French football league

French pay TV operators Canal+ and BeIN Sports have struck a deal with the country’s professional football league (LFP) over payments for rights to matches from the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 competitions that were played before the coronavirus lockdown.

Canal+ and LFP thanked the four Ligue 1 club presidents who they said had participated in a “constructive dialogue” that had led to a “favourable outcome” following the pay TV operators’ decision to suspend payments to the league.

The four presidents cited controversially included Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, president of PSG, who is also CEO of BeIN Media Group. The others were Jacques-Henri Eyraud of OM, Jean-Pierre Rivère of Nice and Olivier Sadran of Toulouse.

Earlier this month, Jaume Roures, the boss of Spanish broadcaster and production company Mediapro, which has secured Ligue 1 rights from next season, used the pages of sports paper L’Équipe, to slam the decision to suspend payments because the money owned covered some matches that had already been played and broadcast and because Al-Khelaïfi had an obvious conflict of interest.

Roures had said that his company was ready to take up the reins from Canal+ and BeIN Sports to broadcast the end of the Ligue 1 season.

According to Canal+, discussions are ongoing regarding the potential restart of the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 championships “with the ambition of realising a spectacle” that exceeds expectations while preserving the health of all those involved.

Canal+ did not reveal financial details. The amount owed for matches already played has been estimated at €43 million, while BeIN Media is believed to owe around €15 million.

The pay TV operator had told the LFP at the end of March that it would not honour a tranche of rights payments due on April 5 due to the end of matches being played while France was locked down due to the coronavirus.