The CSA has raised serious concerns over the exclusive distribution agreement reached between Canal Plus and beIN Sports.
In a confidential memo, seen by French news channel BFM, the media regulator has drawn up a list of issues. It has until mid-June to give a decision.
If accepted Canal+ and CanalSat will have the exclusive rights to distribute BeIN Sports, which currently holds the rights to such key competitions, such as the Champions League and France’s Ligue 1.
The agreement is said to be worth several hundred million Euros.
But the CSA is concerned that Canal would hold a near monopoly given that it is already the exclusive distributor for another leading sports channel, the Discovery-owned Eurosport.
There are also concerns that beIN’s practice of selling some of its sports rights to free-to-air channels might cease – for example 11 matches from Euro 2016 will be screened by commercial channel TF1.
Another problem is that beIN Sports is currently one of the channels that drives ISPs, Orange, Free, SFR Numericable, which are currently developing their own TV offer. The CSA fears their proposition will be severely limited.
Since mid 2012 the Competition Authority has prohibited Canal Plus from holding exclusive distribution rights for premium channels like beIN Sports for a period of five years. Canal has asked for the ban to be lifted.