French sports rights dispute escalates

January 13, 2014 10.35 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul

Bein Sport presentersbeIN Sports has reacted strongly to the decision of France’s national rugby league (LNR) to suspend a tender for the TV rights to the Top 14 rugby competition.

Quoted by Le Figaro, Yousef Al-Obaildy, DG of beIN Sports, criticised Canal+ for acting in an uncompetitive manner by fighting not in sport but the judiciary to have the tender suspended.

He also called for transparency and said that if necessary beIN Sports would go to the French competition authorities to request that the conditions for fair competition are respected.

The fight for the Top 14 rights got under way before Christmas, when Canal+, which controls 90% of the pay-TV market in France, put in a bid of €66 million per year.

However, the LNR asked for €70 million and launched a tender.

This led to Canal+ suing and a suspension of the tender, which beIN Sports would like to see reinstalled.