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Canal+ declines talks with French football league

French pay TV operator Canal+ has reportedly declined to enter into one-to-one negotiations with the country’s professional football body, the LFP, after it effectively boycotted the latter’s call for tenders to rights to Ligue 1 and 2 matches for the period up to 2024.

According to separate reports by sports paper L’Equipe and daily Le Monde, Canal+ executives decided on Wednesday to reject overtures from the LFP to enter into one-to-one talks.

The league’s move to re-auction rights returned to it by Mediapro in the wake of the latter’s failure to maintain payments failed to make the reserve price set by the LFP. Canal+ declined to participate, leaving the field to international players Amazon, DAZN and Discovery, owner of Eurosport.

Canal+ has been holding out for an auction of all rights to Ligue 1 and 2, including the rights it sublicensed from beIN Sports for two matches per weekend match-day, for which it paid €330 million. The Vivendi-owned pay TV operator has taken legal action against the LFP over the latter’s refusal to organise an auction of all rights.

The LFP had given itself 48 hours from Monday evening, when it announced that bids had failed to surpass the reserve price, to find a new way to commercialise the rights. The LFP is now reported to have delayed taking a decision about what to do until tomorrow.

Despite the failure to begin talks, Canal+ will co-broadcast the forthcoming Paris Saint-Germain-Olympique de Marseille match on February 7 with Telefoot, the channel set up by Mediapro as the vehicle for its now abandoned plan to become a major player in French broadcasting.

In a communication released yesterday, the LFP said that the match would be aired live both by Canal+ and Telefoot. The sports body also acknowledged offers to air the match by broadcasters M6, TF1 and France Televisions.