Clouds are gathering over French football

Jaume Roures, CEO of Mediapro, in Paris, December 12, 2019.

For French professional football, the descent into hell continues with Mediapro. The Sino-Spanish group, which was supposed to guarantee them four years of generous television rights, multiplies the unpleasant surprises, and ended up locking them in a vicious circle. Founded by the Catalan Jaume Roures, Mediapro, which launched on 23 August Téléfoot, the pay-TV channel broadcasting 80% of Ligue 1 each week, has placed itself under ad hoc mandate with the commercial court of Nanterre, as revealed it The chained Duck in its Wednesday October 14 edition. Information confirmed at World by corroborating sources.

Mediapro declined to comment. This procedure, which must remain confidential, is granted by the court when a company experiences difficulties. An agent, whose role is, for example, to help the parties to renegotiate payment deadlines or the spreading of the debt, is appointed.

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In any case, this is a very bad signal: it means that Mediapro, supposed to pay the Professional Football League (LFP) 780 million euros per year, is in a bad financial position. Jaume Roures had in September requested a payment deadline for the second installment of 172 million euros, which he should have paid on October 6. Request which had been refused by the clubs. Finally, in addition to having refused to pay his due, he also claimed a rebate on the price that he himself said he was ready to pay, during the 2018 call for tenders, where he had won the game against Canal +.

The procedure conducted with the commercial court by Mediapro “neutralizes the creditor by preventing him from breaking the contract”

At the foot of the wall, the clubs have little choice: refusing to negotiate may lead Mediapro to go into safeguard proceedings, or into receivership. What definitively freeze the debts. No way “To accept the unacceptable”, and of “Put the clubs in major difficulty”, says one within the LFP. But granting a delay in payment amounts to weakening football clubs already very affected by the crisis due to Covid-19, which has cut the 2019-2020 season of the championship and continues to reduce ticket revenues. After a first loan of 224.5 million euros taken out last May, the LFP, which is supposed to pay the clubs the receipts of TV rights on October 17, decided to take out a new loan.

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