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New crisis on the horizon for French football, as clubs fail to agree on how new TV deal should be shared

L’Équipe report that French football is on the verge of a new crisis today about the partition of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2’s new TV rights deal.

Yesterday afternoon, representatives from Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs got the opportunity to speak, before the LFP Board of Directors and General Assembly meetings which are due to occur today. They could not build a positive consensus yesterday around how the Ligue 2 TV rights would be partitioned. This is an issue that has not been resolved since May 2018, when the LFP obtained a €1.231bn a year TV rights deal for 2020 to 2024 from Mediapro. 

Ligue 2 clubs are unhappy with the LFP’s insistance that clubs in the 2nd division will receive a maximum of €110m per year, and as they will receive €99m this year in the final instalment of the previous TV rights deal, this leads them into the position of earning just €11m of the €482.5m increase on the previous deal for next season, which stood at €748.5m per year.

The French 2nd division wants to receive 12.4% of the new, total TV rights package, which equates to €162m once taxes and other minor remunerations to other parties (for example, the FFF and amateur football solidarity payments) are deducted from the overall €1.231bn kitty. Of that €162m, Ligue 2 presidents are willing to then give out €7.5m to sides relegated to the 3rd tier and another €7.5m to clubs across that division at the request of the FFF to keep that division breathing.

In exchange, Ligue 2 presidents are willing to allow for Ligue 1 presidents to manage the LFP on their own. For this to be enacted, the LFP must see all 40 professional clubs vote for it. Currently, the proposal is far off receiving that support, with 9 Ligue 1 presidents voting against it yesterday. The majority of those presidents represent France’s biggest clubs, who argued that they don’t yet have enough guarantees from the league about the €215m loan obtained by the LFP to cover for the loss of TV rights money from BeIN Sports and Canal + which came about following the LFP’s decision to terminate the 2019/20 season with 10 gameweeks left to go.

Ligue 2 clubs feel betrayed by this decision, and are envisaging voting down accepting the French government guaranteed €215m loan to self-sabotage the league if they don’t get their way or boycott the General Assembly today entirely. EA Guingamp President Bertrand Desplat explains: “The meeting between Ligue 1 presidents did not allow for a consensus to form. We hope that, in the days that come, good sense will prevail. 9 Ligue 1 clubs are engaged in blackmail… we are considering postponing the General Assembly.”

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