Canal+ not to take part in Ligue 1 rights auction

French pay TV operator Canal+ has decided not to participate in bids for the next round of Ligue 1 French football rights in what some observers see as a major blow for the French football league, the LFP.

Ligue 1

Maxime Saada

In a letter obtained by French sports paper L’Équipe, Canal+ president Maxime Saada told the LFP that the league had not met the necessary requirements for Canal+ to make an offer.

The LFP has put domestic rights to top-tier football for the 2024-29 period out to tender with the goal of securing €800 million per season across two packages, with international rights bringing the overall total above €1 billion.

In the letter obtained by L’Équipe, Saada accused the league of favouring rival Amazon, the current holder of the majority of rights to Ligue 1.

Saada cited the very high reserve price set by the league of €530 million its premium lot and €270 million for the secondary package.

According to Saada, as reported by L’Équipe, this, combined with a lack of clarity about guarantees demanded, was intended to eliminate rival candidates.

In June, LFP president Vincent Labrune had told the same paper he did not believe Canal+ would participate in the auction.

Canal+ and the LFP have been at odds since the Ligue awarded rights to 80% of matches from the competition to Spanish broadcaster and producer Mediapro, which subsequently was forced to return them in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Having originally sold the major packages to Mediapro for €780 million, the LFP subsequently resold them to Amazon at the knock-down price of €250 million, leaving Canal+ saddled with a €332 million a season bill for an inferior package.

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