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Why evict Lagardère from African football?
Thunder blow in the world of African football: last week, the CAF, the Confederation of African Football, denounced the contract linking it to the group Lagardère, responsible for the marketing of TV rights until 2028. The French company appears as the big loser, but the match is far from over.
The sanction on the stock market was immediate: the Lagardère share lost 5% in the aftermath of this unexpected whistle. This is a serious setback for the sports branch of the French group, which was already, it must be said, in small form. This diversification was not the relay of growth hoped by Arnaud Lagardère, the heir of the dynasty, which is why since this summer, he seeks a buyer for this activity. But if he no longer has the rights of African football, the main nugget of its Sports division, it seriously complicates its sale. And then the second big loser is, of course, African football. The South African pay-TV producer Supersport, the main broadcaster of competitions in sub-Saharan Africa immediately suspended the transmission because of the legal uncertainty created by the denunciation of the contract. A very bad news for all African football fans but also for sponsors. They wonder today if African football is still a good deal.
Who benefits from the breach of the contract between CAF and Lagardère?
At first glance at Egypt's Sports Presentation Corporation which obtained a ruling in his favor in Cairo, arguing that Lagardère's exclusive 20-year, untendered contract was illegal. The CAF, which sits in Cairo, must therefore submit to the decisions of the Egyptian courts. For some analysts, beyond this society, Egypt is the maneuver: according to Vincent Chaudel, the founder of the observatory of the sport business " it seeks to find the lost influence on African football ". If we stick to a geopolitical reading of this case, another country could take advantage of the situation: China, one of the main financiers of the continent and also a country with big ambitions in football. The Chinese company Wanda already has a foothold in the lucrative football TV rights market since it bought the Swiss company Infronts Sports and Media, which specializes in this activity.
What benefit does the African Football Confederation expect?
If the CAF has denounced this one-billion-euro contract that guaranteed it a fairly comfortable minimum annual income, it's probably because it hopes to obtain even more sub-optimal money from Vincent Chaudel. Even if she already has a plan B in mind. If this is not the case, the consultant takes a serious risk, the risk of losing everything. Losing the broadcast of games, she is also working to find an agreement with Supersport, because no other will take over Sub-Saharan Africa. And it also risks losing a lot, a lot of money because Lagardère is determined to fight to the end to keep the contract or to obtain financial compensation. He has the means to embark on this battle of lawyers whereas the CAF is today deficit, under tutelage of Fifa. Surveillance so tight that some wonder if the International Federation is not at the maneuver. Not sure that the interests of the international federation coincide with those of African football as evidenced by his last decision. The CAN 2021 will be shifted in July to give way to the Mondialito, the new format of the FIFA Club World Cup, which will be held in China!
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