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Ligue 1 broadcast rights up in the air

Bids for French top-flight Ligue 1 from Amazon, DAZN and Discovery have all fallen short, prompting a broadcast rights crisis for the league.

Bids for French top-flight Ligue 1 from Amazon, DAZN and Discovery have all fallen short, prompting a broadcast rights crisis for the league.

The Professional Football League (LFP) haven’t been able to reach an agreement with any bidders as all offers by the three media companies were rejected.

L’Equipe reports that Mediapro’s editorial director for the Téléfoot network, Jean-Michel Roussier, also made an offer on his own companies behalf.

So far, no candidate has been able to match a publicly undisclosed asking price for LFP, not helped by the notable absence of bids from pay-TV broadcasters Canal+ and beIN Sports.

LFP has stated that it received offers from ‘three major international groups Amazon, Discovery and DAZN’ for a contract that includes second-tier Ligue 2 rights.

The LFP will give itself 48 hours to consider the next steps in the process, which would likely be entering private negotiations.

Téléfoot’s temporary arrangement, a network set up by Mediapro to showcase French league coverage, has just expired.

The top two French leagues had previously been left without a domestic broadcast partner when a record deal collapsed with Spanish-based agency Mediapro, worth €814 million (1.3 billion AUD) a year until the end of the 2023/24 season. A contract termination occurred in December as Mediapro were unable to meet payment deadlines – just four months into its first year.

Canal+ is paying €330 million (521 million AUD) a year to sublicence the remaining 20 per cent of games from BeIN Sports. The Vivendi-owned media company wanted to cancel that contract as part of the re-issue of the main broadcast partnership tender.

The LFP rejected that move and Canal+ launched a lawsuit against the league body, wanting to resell the rights rather than being stuck with the inflated prices of 2018. A court hearing is expected to take place on February 19th, as the broadcaster is also filing a complaint with France’s competition regulator about the LFP decision.

Last week it was revealed that French top-flight clubs were about to suffer catastrophic combined losses of over €1.3 billion (2 billion AUD) for this season alone due to the Covid-19 pandemic and a Mediapro deal breakdown.

At this stage, there is complete uncertainly if anyone is able to broadcast Ligue 1’s biggest match on the calendar between Marseille and PSG this weekend.

Liam Watson is the Managing Editor at Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

Football West to welcome Jamie Harnwell as new CEO

Football West has announced the appointment of Jamie Harnwell as the new Chief Executive Officer of the organisation.

Football West has announced the appointment of Jamie Harnwell as the new Chief Executive Officer of the organisation.

Harnwell will succeed outgoing CEO James Curtis, who is stepping down after spending almost six years in the role.

Harnwell has been involved with Football West for over 12 years, with his most recent position being Chief Football Officer. Prior to that, he had worked as Acting Chief Operating Officer and Head of Development.

Before joining Football West, Harnwell was the captain of A-Leagues club Perth Glory, as well as the record-appearance holder He made 256 appearances for the Glory men’s squad, where in the process he was involved in back-to-back national championships.

Football West Chairman Sherif Andrawes:

“Football West is delighted to announce Jamie Harnwell as our new CEO,” he said.

“Jamie is a real football person, from his days as a star player at Perth Glory to becoming a top coach in both the A-League Women’s and NPLWA – Men’s competitions. He has transferred the drive and dedication needed to succeed on the pitch to his roles at Football West.

“In addition, Jamie also possesses the necessary skills and vision to drive Football West forward as we continue to grow the sport in WA and we move towards the opening of the State Football Centre and the 2023 Women’s World Cup and beyond.

“Jamie has worked closely with James Curtis for a number of years, and in terms of senior management, it is great that he has been able to ‘learn on the job’ and is well placed to lead the team at Football West over what will be an exciting period for our sport in WA.

“Following an extensive nationwide search and the assessment of several excellent candidates, Jamie proved to be the stand-out. We look forward to him leading Football West in the years ahead and continuing the terrific progress achieved under James Curtis.”

Incoming Football West Chief Executive Officer Jamie Harnwell:

“It is exciting to become CEO of Football West and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” he said.

“We are the biggest team sport in the country in terms of participation and we are in a fantastic position. But there is still plenty of potential for further growth, especially here in WA.

“It has been terrific to work with James Curtis and gain invaluable experience, now I am ready to put my own stamp on the position.”

Harnwell will work together with Curtis until the latter departs from Football West on March 31, 2022.

Sky Sports extends rights to NIFL

The Northern Ireland Football League has announced that Sky Sports will be the exclusive broadcaster of Football in the region once again.

The Northern Ireland Football League has announced that Sky Sports will once again be the exclusive broadcaster of top-flight football in the region for the next three years.

The Irish League has had a long-lasting partnership with Sky over the years and the agreement will see the relationship in place until the end of the 2024/25 season.

The new agreement will see four Danske Bank Premiership fixtures and the BetMcLean League Cup final broadcast live across the UK & Ireland each season.

Northern Ireland Football Chief Executive, Gerard Lawlor:

“We sincerely thank Sky Sports for their continued backing of our game and we look forward to showcasing some of the best NI Football League matches together over the next three seasons,” he said.

“To continue to have the invaluable support of such a high-profile broadcaster shows how far our league has progressed in recent years as we bring our game to an increasing audience of loyal fans.

“The NI Football League brand is continuing to grow outside of the confines of Northern Ireland, and through Sky Sports, many football fans are now becoming more familiar with the rich history of our clubs and as well as some of the household names that have played in the Irish League.”

Sky Sports Director of Football, Gary Hughes:

“As a long-term partner to the Northern Ireland Football League, we’re delighted to extend Sky Sports’ support of the league and ensure that its entertaining action continues to be available to our customers,” he said.

“Sky Sports customers will be able to enjoy the Northern Ireland Football league alongside our ever-expanding football offering in the UK & Ireland which includes over 500 live games in 2022, from the Premier League, EFL, Scottish Premiership and FA Women’s Super League as well as international action in the form of World Cup Qualifiers, and this month’s Africa Cup of Nations – placing Sky Sports as the home of live football.”

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