Canal+ declares war on Al Jazeera
May 31, 2012 10.51 Europe/London By Robert Briel

Canal+ is waging war against Al Jazeera. Subscribers to CanalSat bouquets will not be able to get access to Al Jazeera’s new sports channels bein Sport 1 & 2, which launches tomorrow, June 1.

Canal+ has also taken legal action to prove unfair poaching of its journalists by the Quatar based broadcaster.

Bein Sport recently acquired a number of Ligue 1 football games, the main French competition, as well as the rights to the Champions League for broadcast in France.

Until now, these rights were owned by Canal+, which held a virtual monopoly on most football rights.

Tactics employed by Canal+ now include banning the new sports channels from it own CanalSat channel bouquets on IPTV and DTH satellite, as well as legal action against its new competitor.

To prove the unfair practices of bein Sport, Canal + has taken legal action to demonstrate “excessive poaching” and bailiffs were sent in early last week to the offices of Al Jazeera Paris to find the facts.

Meanwhile, bein Sport1 is launching and will be available on most IPTV platforms, as well as on two Eutelsat satellite positions. This includes cable by Numericable, IPTV providers Alice, Bouygues Telecom, Darty Box, Free, Orange, SFR and satellite DTH from BIS TV, Orange Sat, SFR Sat and Parabole Réunion.

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. Until now, Canal+ not only held a virtual monopoly on football rights, to an outsider it also looked that the pay-TV operator was enjoying favourable treatment from the powers-that-be.

That cosy situation is now over and Canal has to confront serious competition. Until now, they were able to fight off the competition – as was the case with TPS and Orange.

The broadcaster is also under heavy fire for allegedly breaking the rules set by the CSA and the monopoly commission with the TPS takeover. The French authorities are set to decide on the sanctions to be imposed upon Canal.

By not agreeing to carry the new sports channels on the CanalSat platform, the operator is likely to be subject to more criticism of abuse of power.