The BeIn Sports and Canal + groups have taken legal action in this case. - FRANCK FIFE / AFP
The main financial windfall of football has dried up: after Canal +, BeIN in turn suspended the payment of TV rights for French competitions, after their interruption due to coronavirus. The boss of the Qatari group announced it in a letter to the Professional Football League, consulted Wednesday by AFP. "Our group has decided to suspend the next payments provided for in our agreement, until the leagues 1 and 2 championships can resume according to a schedule allowing their normal distribution to our subscribers", announces in this letter Yousef Al-Obaidly.
When Nasser Al-Khelaifi is going to be sent to Bein Sports by the LFP to go and recover TV rights for Ligue 1 pic.twitter.com/dQeOXIHy0t- Alex D (@Alexandre_DRD) April 1, 2020
BeIN was to honor a payment of 42 million euros on Sunday, April 5. The League, solicited Wednesday evening by AFP, said it "confirms the mail from BeIN" but does "no other comments" at this stage. The other Ligue 1 broadcaster, Canal +, launched the first offensive by informing the Professional Football League (LFP) that it would not honor its next installment. Or 110 million euros, or 15% of the total annual amount, initially expected by the clubs of the elite, main beneficiaries of this payment, which should also have intervened on Sunday.
"Lack of visibility"
BeIN explains that it has "mainly taken into consideration the total absence of real visibility on the actual resumption of matches in the current season, which has just been aggravated by the decision to maintain confinement for an additional fifteen days". "Our group, and in particular its channels for broadcasting major sporting events, have not been spared the serious consequences of the health crisis, which all economic operators are besides facing," explains Yousef Al-Obaidly.
After Canal +, beIN Sports suspends the payment of TV rights to the LFP https://t.co/WE3hNfibjs pic.twitter.com/1ejpBTfGAa- THE TEAM (@lequipe) April 1, 2020
No subscriber refunds yet?
The boss of the media group, however, indicates to the LFP that he is at his disposal to "discuss" the "protective measures put in place by the League for the continuation of the current championship and the resumption of the next season". According to a close source, the group does not currently plan to partially reimburse its subscribers, but "is closely monitoring the situation". Note that according to the Team, a delegation of four L1 presidents (PSG, OM, Toulouse, Nice), will organize a telephone meeting with the boss of the Canal + group Maxime Saada to convince him to pay his share anyway.
TV rights, which represented nearly 36% of L1 club revenues during the 2018-2019 season, are by far their biggest source of income, according to the report of the DNCG, the financial gendarme of French football. Another payment was expected in early June from Canal + and BeIN.