A friendly match between OL and Genk, in July 2020 (photo illustration).
Shutterstock / SIPA
If Jaume Roures, the boss of Mediapro, had assured during his conference ten days ago to be confident about a conciliation with the LFP, he seems to be the only one.
As for the clubs, it creaks severely and the new confinement decreed on Wednesday adds to their concerns.
“Each day of the championship that passes is a new handicap in our budget,” laments to AFP Jean-Pierre Caillot, the president of Reims and the college bringing together the leaders of Ligue 1.
Weaned from ticketing and deprived of the broadcaster's television income, French football is growing impatient.
The 9th day of Ligue 1 will be able to be held almost normally this weekend, but the clubs will live it once again with bitterness, aware of delivering a show on the Téléfoot channel without financial compensation.
No money in early December either
Problem: the L1 and L2 clubs have no immediate lever to operate, the fault of an ongoing conciliation procedure with the Nanterre Commercial Court, initiated by Mediapro with a view to renegotiating the amount of the TV rights contract for the current season with the Professional Football League.
They have also signed a confidentiality clause preventing them from discussing the evolution of the situation.
But impatience wins them, as the next TV rights deal approaches, at the beginning of December, a deadline considered by Mediapro as being de facto suspended.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said he was “more than worried” in an interview with AFP, showing himself to be pessimistic about the future of French football, “hanging on a thread”.
Jean-Pierre Caillot is on the same wavelength: "The administrator must very quickly take decisions and not wait," said the manager, urging the conciliator appointed by the Nanterre commercial court to accelerate this process.
The procedure, reinforced by the ordinances of May 20, which favor debtors in difficulty to the detriment of creditors, can last up to five months even if several media argue that the conciliator Marc Sénéchal planned to complete the process in early December.
“A conciliation of five or six months is far too long!
Our broadcaster must not take advantage of it, ”protests Caillot.
A source familiar with the matter confirms: “We are part of a company that has failed in strategy.
Mediapro failed to resell the rights, and got stuck.
They are taking advantage of the health crisis to try to save themselves ”.
Canal + in a strong position
According to this same source, the "only favorable scenario for the LFP", namely that "Mediapro comes to its senses and pays", is precisely "the least plausible".
Under these conditions, all leaders are starting to look elsewhere.
"Either Mediapro and its shareholders are able to pay us, which does not seem to be the case today, or this contract must end as quickly as possible so that we can talk to other broadcasters", insists Clot.
In this debate, Canal + seems to be in a strong position.
His boss Maxime Saada knows it, and that's why he let it be known in Les Echos on Friday that there was "no question of making Canal + plunge into the red by reinvesting at a loss in football".
If there were to be renegotiations, it would be on their terms.
"It's stupor and tremors here" ... What future for the Téléfoot channel?
via @ 20minutesSport https://t.co/PnQfabsPP0
- 20 Minutes Sport (@ 20minutesSport) October 23, 2020
All these concerns of the clubs are "legitimate", acknowledged Noël Le Graët in an interview with the Parisian published Friday evening.
"All this worries me ... Especially since in the global sum promised by Mediapro, part must go to the Federation and therefore to our amateur clubs," said the president of the FFF.
If Mediapro does not pay or if Canal + recovers the rights and pays less, everyone will be in difficulty.
"But it is not yet time to give in to panic," continues the president of the French Football Federation.
We still have a little time ahead of us.
Mediapro has yet to file for bankruptcy or say it will stop paying for good.
As president of the Federation, I therefore ask everyone to calm down and wait until the end of the match.
“Even if no one knows the length of additional time.
Mediapro: How could French football have failed at this point?
TV rights: "No question" for Canal + of "reinvesting at a loss" in Ligue 1, warns Maxime Saada