Jaume Roures and Mediapro, soon to be ancient history?
FRANCK FIFE / AFP
The conciliation led by Marc Sénéchal, appointed by the Nanterre commercial court, would be on the verge of bearing fruit.
Unless there is a last-minute turnaround, the LFP should record a breach of contract with Mediapro before the end of December.
Once its TV rights have been recovered, it could then sell them in part to Canal +, which is ready to make an offer.
The LFP and with it all French football have not yet emerged from the brambles, but at least things are becoming clearer.
Entangled in an impossible case after the decision of Mediapro, the main broadcaster of the French championship, not to pay its first two installments of TV rights (172.3 million in October and 152.2 million in December) that it owes to the League, it would like to quickly find an emergency exit.
It is neither more nor less for the survival of a good number of professional clubs in France.
It is in this sense that the results of the board of directors of the LFP which was held on Wednesday morning were eagerly awaited.
Invited to come and take stock of the conciliation that he has been carrying out with Mediapro for several weeks now, Marc Sénéchal, the conciliator appointed by the Nanterre commercial court, affirmed before the members of the LFP board that the negotiations affected their term.
Indeed, according to the latest indiscretions of our colleagues from
, he would have informed the body that this bad soap opera could now have only two outcomes: either the LFP accepts the conditions it negotiated with Mediapro, namely an abandonment of the contract binding the two parties, against the guarantee for the Sino-Spanish group not to be sued, i.e. the clash synonymous with both the bankruptcy of Mediapro and an intense legal fight that could last for weights.
Conciliation should bear fruit
“Mediapro's position seems to have evolved,” notes Pierre Maes, author of the book
Le business des droits TV du foot.
Initially, they explained that they had no intention of withdrawing, that they just wanted to renegotiate the rights down.
We can therefore say that we are moving forward ... A little.
We now understand that it was in fact only a default.
And today the only will of the LFP is to get rid of Mediapro and recover its rights.
That would indeed be a good thing.
The #MandatAdHoc confers absolutely exorbitant rights to Mediapro (to broadcast without paying anything, not even a part) and locks the @LFP in a destructive powerlessness of value (to date 56 matches have not been paid and probably will not be. never - value 143.5M).
- Pierre Maes (@pierremaes) December 8, 2020
But what about the 324.5 million euros not collected for the broadcasting by Téléfoot of the L1 and L2 matches since the start of the season?
argues that Vincent Labrune, the new president of the LFP, who would not be far from opting for the first solution (accepting conciliation with Mediapro), would still consider claiming compensation from Jaume Roures and Mediapro.
A lesser evil for Pierre Maes, who chokes on thinking about the strategy of the television group in recent weeks.
" Compensation ?
That would be the least of things, yes.
Because we must not forget in all this that Mediapro was Machiavellian in this process: they used a procedure [conciliation via the commercial court of Nanterre] which is there originally to save the companies in difficulties bankruptcy, a procedure that was reinforced with the Covid-19, and Mediapro took advantage of this to broadcast two months of Ligue 1 without paying!
They abused his rights under this procedure.
Canal + awaits the signal start
This is not the option considered according to the last rumors of corridors after the GA on Wednesday.
And Canal in all of this?
Because if the LFP breaks its contract with Mediapro, someone will have to pick up the baby.
For the moment, the historic parent company of French football is hiding in the shadows, determined not to offer anything until the LFP has recovered its rights.
A posture that could not be more legitimate according to the TV rights expert.
“For the moment there is nothing to buy since the rights still belong to Mediapro.
They are already very kind to be ready to take up the torch.
“Not at the same cost, obviously.
, Canal + could put 590 million euros on the table (plus 100 million bonuses linked to a possible increase in its number of subscriptions).
"They are in a strong position and will not let the opportunity pass to correct the market and bring it back to something more in line with the reality of the television product that is French football," adds Maes.
A sharp drop in TV rights to be expected
It is moreover more or less what announced Gérald Brice-Viret, the director of the antennas and the programs of Canal +, Wednesday on Europe 1: “It's crazy this story.
They [Mediapro] are going to put us down in Ligue 1 while we have been glorifying it for more than 30 years.
In any case, Maxime Saada and the entire Canal + group, we will be there to help them, to dialogue with them, but the prices must not be above ground.
“Given the almost apocalyptic context in which the world of French football has put itself, it is no longer in a position to negotiate anything.
"When we sign a partnership like this one, we are committed, and therefore the wrongs are shared", confirms the LREM deputy of the Alpes-Maritimes, Cédric Roussel, member of the study group on "The Economy of Sport" of the National Assembly which auditioned a good part of the actors of this
“From a point of view of financial control and control of the economic model proposed by Mediapro, there has been too much lightness on the part of the decision-makers of French football, he breathes.
It is a whole state of mind that needs to be reviewed in the way in which the negotiations were conducted.
"By the end of the conciliation, the deadline for which was set Wednesday to December 18, Mediapro and its Telefoot channel will continue to broadcast Ligue 1 matches, including PSG-Lyon on Sunday.
His last stand?
It looks like it more and more.
Ligue 1: Unsurprisingly, Mediapro did not honor its December payment
Ligue 1: Canal + is preparing to make an offer to recover Mediapro's TV rights