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Entertainment Canal+ threaten to boycott showing Ligue 1 and SUE in TV rights row

16:50  12 june  2021
16:50  12 june  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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French TV channel Canal+ have threatened to boycott showing Ligue 1 games and take legal action after Amazon were awarded a share in the TV rights for French football.

French governing body LFP announced on Friday that a share of broadcast rights would be given to Amazon, leading to a furious response from subscription channel Canal+, who said they would withdraw rather than share rights with Amazon.

A statement read: 'After the failure of the choice of Mediapro in 2018, Canal+ regrets the decision of the LFP to accept the bid of Amazon to the detriment of that of its historical partners Canal+ and beIN Sports. Canal+ will not, therefore, be broadcasting Ligue 1.'

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As reported by France 24, the bitter row throws the future of French football's TV rights into chaos less than two months before the new top-flight season starts in early August.

Spanish-Chinese company Mediapro's record rights deal was terminated in December, only four months after it started, because they failed to meet payment deadlines. In that deal, Mediapro had the rights to 80 per cent of Ligue 1 matches - eight per round - and Canal+ paid around £285m per season to show the other two.

When Mediapro pulled out, the LFP decided to replace that setup by splitting the rights between Amazon and Canal+ in a new £570million deal due to run until 2024, which also gives Jeff Bezos' company a share of Ligue 2 games with beIN Sport.

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Under this deal, Amazon are set to pay £215m for domestic rights to 80 per cent of matches, with Canal+ bound by the terms of the previous deal to still be paying £285m for two matches per round.

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BeIN bid for 80 per cent of Ligue 1 fixtures and every Ligue 2 game, but only received 20 per cent of second-tier matches for £25m per season, while Amazon will receive the rest for just £30million.

Canal+ failed on Friday morning with a legal bid to scrap the deal after the larger deal previously signed with Mediapro collapsed, leading to their threats of boycott and legal action.

New York Times' Tariq Panja tweeted: 'Another big win in Europe for Amazon. Becomes French league's biggest broadcaster - 8 games a week - for just €250m (£215m). Meanwhile, Canal+ stuck paying €332m (£285m) for 2 per week (they've said they won't show the games, or pay and will sue).

'Canal+ had lost two court cases saying their deal should be scrapped because the larger deal Ligue 1 signed with Media Pro, collapsed. Canal+ argued for a redo of the entire auction, the league refused. Based on Amazon deal, Canal's rights (bought via BeIN) worth nearer €100m.'

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