Canal+ or the announced death of Ligue 1


By: Manu Tournoux

The verdict on L1 TV rights for the period 2024-2029 is slow in coming. Canal+, which does not wish to position itself, nevertheless has the upper hand.

The president of Canal+ Maxime Saada could not have been clearer this Thursday on the question of TV rights for Ligue 1. Visiting the National Assembly and surveyed on the subject by Karl Olive, former director of sports at Canal+ who became a Renaissance deputy for Yvelines and incidentally a member of the Board of Directors of the Professional Football League (LFP), the person concerned hammered home the position of his group in this matter.

We believe we have been victims of very significant harm for the Canal+ group. (an allusion to the agreement signed by the LFP with Amazon in June 2021 after the Mediapro fiasco while Canal+ had to scrupulously observe its commitment made in 2018. Which mainly explains the current deficit of Canal+ in Francesays Maxime Saada in comments relayed by L’Equipe. Under these conditions, we have not renewed our participation in the Ligue 1 call for tenders and we are not participating today in over-the-counter discussions. »

beIN, the big favorite of the Elysée

Out of the question for the encrypted channel to reinvest in French football, therefore. And yet Canal+ maintains a central role in the current negotiations. The presence of Vincent Labrune, the boss of the LFP, at the diplomatic dinner which on Tuesday brought together Kylian Mbappé, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi and the Emir of Qatar Tamim ben Hamad Al-Thani at the Elysée, attests to this: President Macron is working behind the scenes to encourage beIN Sports to participate in the call for tenders for the 2024-2029 rights to the French championship.

For football, as for other sectors, the president wants to be the VRP of French interestsblows to the sports daily aroused a source close to the government. When he can help, when you have to pick up the phone, give of himself, he responds. He did not wait for the call for tenders to worry about French football. But for several months, he has been available if he needs to contact this or that person. He also did so with the Qataris, expressing the importance that we attach to it. »

The distribution in question

Over the weeks, two contenders for Ligue 1 TV rights seem to have emerged: the British platform DAZN and the Qatari group beIN Sports. Two entities which depend on Canal+ for the broadcast of their channels in France. In view of the cold relations that Vincent Labrune’s League and Maxime Saada’s group now maintain, no gift will be given with a view to such a distribution, which will necessarily involve a financial effort on the part of the encrypted channel. However, beIN Sports is precisely waiting for distribution guarantees before advancing its pawns. In the absence of an agreement, all of French football will go straight into the wall.

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