Canal+’s president Maxime Saada has informed the French Football League (LFP) that the broadcaster will not participate in the tender for Ligue 1 TV rights.
In a letter to LFP’s president Vincent Labrune and seen by the publication L’Équipe, he accused the league of “never stopping to penalise Canal+”. He also said that LFP favoured Amazon and its objective was to remove Canal+ from the process.
In a response, the LFP said it “regrets the decision expressed by the Canal+ Group which it obviously never wanted. Canal+ and its subscribers love French football, as Mr. Saada’s letter reminds us, and the League and the clubs have always considered Canal+ as a strategic partner.
It went on to say: “The assertions or insinuations contained in this letter are, moreover, particularly serious.
“Where necessary, the LFP specifies that all parameters of the call for applications have been established in strict compliance with the rules of the sports code and competition law. The terms of this call for applications ensure maximum transparency to all candidates regarding the progress and integrity of the process, the LFP having no form of agreement with any actor whatsoever.
“Finally, the LFP regrets the process of publicly disclosing the terms of this letter, in order to harm the marketing process as well as the interests of the LFP and the clubs that make it up”.
LFP announced an invitation to tender for domestic league (Ligue 1 and 2) rights for 2024-2029 earlier this month.
Quoted by L’Équipe, Vincent Labrune said that LFP is sticking to the business plan produced by CVC, which injected €1.5 billion into French professional football in exchange for a 13% stake in the league’s commercial arm. This envisages securing global audiovisual revenues of around €1 billion (a season) for the 2024-2029.
Significantly, this will be the first time that Canal+ has not bid for the rights. It has broadcast Ligue 1 since 1984.