Canal+ to appeal as court orders it to honour Ligue 1 contract

Canal+ has said it will contest a ruling by the Nanterre commercial court ordering it to honour its contract with beIN Sports to air two matches per weekend matchday of French top-tier football.

The court yesterday said that the pay TV operator could not renege on its contract to air the matches under a sub-licensing deal with beIN Sports, under which it effectively agreed to pay €332 million a season for 20% of Ligue 1 matches.

Canal+ had earlier taken a decision to boycott the competition on the grounds that it had suffered inequitable treatment after the French professional football league, the LFP, awarded rights to live coverage of the other 80% of matches to Amazon for €250 million.

The sale of the rights at this reduced price came about after the previous licensee, Spain’s Mediapro, failed to honour its own contract with the LFP and finally agreed to hand the rights back and withdraw from the market.

The ruling against Canal+ came after one on Wednesday ordering beIN Sports, the original licensee of the Lot 3 package of two matches per weekend matchday, to honour its own contract with the LFP.

Canal+ said that the ruling against it forced it to “submit to the consequences of the inequitable treatment dealt by the [LFP] between distributors of Ligue 1 Uber Eats”.

“While Canal+ Group will have to pay up the equivalent of a sum amounting to €332 million per season to air two matches per day, Amazon will air eight of them, including the 10 top fixtures of the season, for €250 million, an amount nearly six times less per match,” said the pay TV operator.

The operator added that the court ruling had failed to take account of the fact that beIN Sports had not taken action to defend its interests against the LFP, which it was obliged to do under the terms of its contract with the Canal+.

Despite its stated intention to appeal, Canal+ is now expected to air the two matches under threat of possible financial penalties for failing to comply with the court order.

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