On Monday, Canal+ CEO Maxime Saada wrote an inflammatory letter to Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) president Vincent Labrune to inform him of his media group’s intentions not to bid for Ligue 1’s domestic broadcasting TV rights.
It will be the first time in 40 years that Canal+ won’t broadcast the French top flight. The media group’s refusal to take part in the upcoming call to bids, in which LFP expect close to €800m in TV rights per year, is hardly surprising given the legal contentions between the LFP and Canal+.
Saada did not hold back in criticizing the LFP, citing a reported privilege granted to Amazon Prime Video Sport, the main broadcaster of Ligue 1, compared to Canal+. The media group CEO also lamented “the total absence of transparency regarding the process of awarding rights” for the upcoming tender. The contents of the letter, and the fact it was made public, did not go down well at all in the LFP’s headquarters. Besides, Canal+’s refusal to compete for the Ligue 1 rights is a blow for the LFP’s prospects to reach their €800m a year goal.
LFP president Vincent Labrune responded vigorously to Saada in a letter revealed by L’Equipe. The former Olympique de Marseille president considers that Canal+‘s grievances “are based on factually incorrect considerations”. Labrune also mentions that Canal+ have failed in their numerous legal attempts to sue the LFP for their awarding of TV rights to Amazon for a cut-price deal. “All the courts or authorities contacted by you and which examined these grievances rejected them and considered that the LFP had committed no fault”.
Regarding a potentially favourable treatment of Amazon by the League, Labrune again slams Saada. “Your allegations (…) are completely unfounded and contrary to the facts.” The LFP president also rejected “in the strongest terms” the Canal+ CEO’s dig regarding the opaqueness of the upcoming media rights tender. “The speculations, assertions and insinuations contained in your letter are in this regard as serious as they are baseless”, Labrune wrote.
GFFN | Bastien Cheval