French football is in turmoil following the refusal of Mediapro, the main broadcaster of League 1 and League 2 this season and until 2024, to pay its second instalment (around €172m) which was due on 5 October.
Worse, the Sino-Spanish media group has indicated through its chairman, Jaume Roures, that it intends to renegotiate the initial contract downwards due to the impact of COVID-19.
This is a disaster for the French professional clubs and for the LFP, which chose this new partner two years ago without having first negotiated real financial guarantees.
Although the League has decided to counter-attack, the L1 and L2 clubs are worried about their future. According to Le Canard Enchaîné, they were even hoping for an intervention by the State and Emmanuel Macron to unravel this thorny issue.
But according to a source from the Élysée Palace contacted by Le Monde, this will undoubtedly have to be done without intervention from the highest level of government.
“We are not going to intervene with Mediapro to help them pay their debts or guarantee the risks they have taken in the context of a call for tenders. We are not going to intervene on TV rights. »
LFP declares war on Mediapro !
This Wednesday, Arnaud Rouget, decided to send a letter to the presidents of the clubs to explain what is currently happening.
The newspaper “l’Equipe” unveils this letter:
“Mediapro has placed itself well under the protection of the Commercial Court of Nanterre within the framework of an ad hoc mandate procedure,” he writes. We were therefore bound by a strict obligation of confidentiality since last week so as not to put the LFP in default.
Therefore, without going into the details of the case, the LFP did indeed, as the procedure requires, make a proposal (validated by the Bureau, editor’s note) to the ad hoc representative. This was followed by a response from Mediapro which was totally unacceptable in view of the financial uncertainties for the clubs.
We therefore applied the contract between us and Mediapro and gave them formal notice to settle the deadlines of 1 and 5 October, while activating the guarantee given by the parent company of the Mediapro group”.
“We will have to consider the takeover of the contract by other operators”
A real legal war is therefore being played out, and probably the financial future of French football, which relies heavily on money from TV rights to survive.
Arnaud Rouget, in the rest of his letter, evokes two possibilities concerning the continuation, and we can well imagine Canal + and beIN Sports on the lookout and attentive to the case. Knowing that we should not neglect either RMC Sport, which has been rather discreet for some time.
“There are then two possibilities, either a favourable outcome is found with Mediapro, or it is not the case, and the contract will have to be taken over by other operators.
In the meantime, we obviously have to be irreproachable despite the difficulties encountered with Mediapro and must therefore continue to welcome them quite normally in the stadiums”, he writes.