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BeIN Sports takes legal action against football partner Canal+

BeIN Sports in France is taking legal action against its partner Canal+ over the latter’s decision not to transmit the Ligue 1 football matches it previously agreed to sublicense from the Qatar-based broadcaster.

Le Monde and AFP have reported that BeIN Sports has filed a suit with the Nanterre commercial court demanding payment of €332 million for the two matches per day Canal+ agreed to take before its unilateral decision to withdraw over the French Professional Football League’s decision to award the bulk of rights to Ligue 1 to Amazon for a reduced amount.

The re-auction of rights that were ultimately awarded to Amazon came about after the previous licensee, Spain’s Mediapro, spectacularly failed to achieve its ambition of becoming a major player in French premium football and ultimately was forced to return the matches it was awarded to the league under an agreement between the pair following its failure to make payments due.

The LFP subsequently awarded Amazon the rights to air 80% of Ligue 1 matches for a reported €259 million – a much reduced amount compared with the €780 million originally agreed by Mediapro – leaving Canal+ paying more for its 20% allocation, comprising two matches per matchday on Saturdays and Sundays.

Having failed to force a re-auction of the rights it had already agreed to pay for and following a failed legal action and appeal to the country’s competition watchdog over the issue, Canal+ said it would boycott the competition.

Canal+ this week told BeIN Sports that it wanted to suspend its agreement with the latter, leaving BeIN Sports, the original licensee for these matches, owing the LFP. Canal+ has also reportedly declined to make an initial payment to BeIN of €500,000, according to AFP. A second payment is due on August 5.