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LFP threatens to abandon Mediapro deal after payment failure

The Professional Football League (LFP) of France is gearing up to abandon its domestic rights deal with Spanish media agency Mediapro.

According to the AFP, the league is threatening to abandon its four-year deal mere months into the partnership after Mediapro failed to make its second rights payment of €172 million.

The agency kicked off its €800 million+ rights deal in August for French football’s top two divisions, making its first installment. However, Mediapro failed to pay its second installment of €172 million by October 5, requesting more time amid the ongoing economic crisis.

The AFP reports that LFP CEO Arnaud Rouger sent an email to the league’s clubs detailing that it is gearing up to abandon the deal should payment not be made imminently.

The email reportedly said: “We have given them [Mediapro] formal notice to settle the deadlines of 1st and 5th October. Either a favourable outcome is found with Mediapro, or not, and it will be necessary to envisage the contract being taken over by other operators.”

Mediapro’s 2018 rights win was considered a major coup, and took the league away from longtime incumbent Canal+. The deal promised to be a major reinvention of how Ligue 1 is broadcast in France, with the launch of a dedicated Téléfoot channel with TF1 and a distribution deal with Netflix.

While it remains to be seen whether the LFP is serious in its threat, the deal’s cancellation could see minor right holder beIN Sports given a larger share of matches, while Canal+ could save face with a return to Ligue 1 broadcasting.

The stand-off has been brewing for months, with Mediapro CEO Jaume Roures previously telling L’Equippe that it wanted to renegotiate the terms of its deal in light of the pandemic and its negative effect on sports rights values across the world.