ESPN SCRUM

/ Top 14 Orange 2014-15

/ News

Top 14
Blockbuster French TV deal under threat
ESPN Staff
August 1, 2014
Toulon lifted were crowned 2013/4 Top 14 champions in May © Getty Images
Enlarge

The Top 14's bumper television deal could be under threat after French authorities ruled that broadcaster Canal+ was awarded the exclusive rights in an unfair manner.

The LNR, the Top 14's governing body, has already announced that it will appeal against the decision by the French Competition Authority to suspend the five-year deal worth €355 million (£280m).

The new deal was set to begin this season, but a complaint by subscription sports channel BeIN Sports alleged that the LNR and Canal+ - the league's long-time broadcasting partner - excluded it from the bidding process, a view which was supported by the Competition Authority.

The suspension will not take effect until the 2015/16 season as, with kick off for the new Top 14 campaign just a fortnight away, it would be impossible to stage a new rights auction in time for the current season.

The Competition Authority's decision has caused anger among French rugby bosses, with officials warning that the Top 14's smaller clubs could feel the squeeze if the blockbuster broadcast deal falls through.

"This decision is very worrying for the smaller clubs" Brive vice-president Simon Gilham said. "With the five-year deal we were guaranteed some visibility and it allowed us to put in place short and medium-term projects, including signing players on three-year deals.

"Now it's as if your job contract went from three years to one year.

"Do you understand the impact of €2m on a budget of €12m? It's huge. I understand why the richer clubs haven't reacted, but for everyone else the consequences are much more serious. This decision will cost us visibility and I'm very grateful that the LNR has decided to appeal the decision."

LNR chief Paul Goze was similarly outraged. He told French newspaper Midi Olympique: "This decision is unjustified, incongruous and open to criticism."

The league's heavyweight clubs are less concerned that they will miss out on revenue as a result of the decision. Racing Métro President Jacky Lorenzetti said: "Why would the result of the new bidding process be lower than the deal that has already been signed? I'm not worried about this decision. We need to let the law follow this through."

The LNR now has until January 31 2015 to put in place a new bidding process.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Latest
  • Most Viewed
  • News
  • Features
  • Formula 1

    Stevens ruled out of Malaysian Grand Prix

    Will Stevens will miss the Malaysian Grand Prix after Manor failed to rectify a fuel system problem which saw the Brit sit out qualifying

  • Formula 1

    MP4-30 has more downforce than cars in front - Button

    Jenson Button is confident his McLaren-Honda has more downforce than the cars in front of him on the grid in Malaysia and is hoping to exploit it at future races when the Honda power unit is closer to its full potential

  • Rugby

    Disallowed tries hurt Force in loss

    Two disallowed tries ensured the Western Force ended their South African tour winless with the Sharks securing a 15-9 Super Rugby victory at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday

  • Rugby

    Larkham to bring 'awesome' input for Wallabies: Cheika

    Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is looking forward to Stephen Larkham's "awesome" input as they join forces officially for the first time to plot an unprecedented third Australian Rugby World Cup triumph

  • Rugby

    Handre Pollard kicks Bulls into seventh place

    Bulls five-eighth Handre Pollard became the first Super Rugby player past the 100-point mark this season as his team defeated the Crusaders 31-19 in Pretoria

  • Football

    A Klose call

    Miroslav Klose scored goals in the World Cup final tournaments of 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014. Has anyone else scored World Cup goals 12 years apart?

  • Formula 1

    F1 cost cutting: Not putting money where the mouth is

    Mudslinging and an agreement on something that will never happen, it's all in a day's work for a Formula One boss, as Maurice Hamilton explains...

  • Formula One

    Tough at the top

    Who has driven in the most GPs before taking pole position?

  • Rugby

    Unsavoury sledging did not end with Potgieter

    Fallout continues from the NSW-Brumbies derby, with one Tahs forward - not Potgieter - surprised by other unsavoury comments during the game, Greg Growden reports

  • Rugby

    Super Rugby preview, team news, line-ups: Round 7

    Greg Growden previews Super Rugby round 7. We've also got key stats, team news and all the line-ups to inform your ESPN Footytips Super Rugby picks

  • News
  • Features

Sponsored Links

Make Huge Income from your Home
Download your Free Guide And Learn How To Increase Your Monthly Income