Ecuadorian federation rejects DirecTV bid as clubs mull new league body
The FEF, the Ecuadorian soccer federation, has rebuffed the only bid submitted for broadcasting rights to the top-tier Serie A, in a relaunched tender, prompting the clubs to call for a congress this week to discuss launching a new league body.
Last week the federation reluctantly reopened the bidding process for the rights, after courts overturned the 10-year, $276-million contract signed with GolTV, the Latin American cable and satellite soccer broadcaster.
However, Alex de la Torre, the vice-president of the FEF, announced yesterday that the qualification commission, of which he is a member, had turned down the only bid, from DirecTV, as it did not meet the rules of the tender.
Franklin Zambrano, the representative of the ombudsman’s office, said that DirecTV had breached two requirements laid out in the rules on 8 March, one being a declaration of guarantees against corruption, money laundering and bribery and the other a declaration of acceptance of the regulations of the contest and the contract.
De la Torre and Zambrano added that a final decision on the DirecTV offer would be made by the FEF board.
Earlier on Monday a judge had ordered the FEF to modify the rules for the bidding process, including removing the requested guarantee of $95 million to cover the cost of any legal challenge from GolTV, which is headed up by renowned Uruguayan player agent Paco Casal.
The deal with the broadcaster was agreed last June but has faced criticism and legal challenges, notably from Abdalá Bucaram Pulley, a politician and former soccer player, because of an alleged lack of transparency and good business practice.
The apparent rejection of the DirecTV offer has led the 24 clubs in the top two divisions to arrange a meeting for today to call for an extraordinary congress involving themselves and member associations on Friday, at which plans for a new Liga Profesional body would be considered.
The FEF has overseen the top league since 2012.
Nassib Neme, the president of Emelec, told reporters: “The rights have to go back to the clubs. The federation did not have the capacity to handle the issue.
He added: “According to the regulations it [the congress] would have to be in Esmeraldas or in El Oro. The idea is to confirm the Liga Profesional and take control of the commercial obligations of the championship.”
Neme said that the clubs would be looking to take over Serie A in 2019, with statutes to be drawn up today and presented to the ministry of sport for approval. The meeting would also address the possibility of suspending the 2018 season.
The cancellation of the GolTV deal forced the FEF to take contingency measures for TV coverage of the top division at the start of the current campaign, with some games shown by cable groups CNT and Asocope and on free-to-air channels including Teleamazonas and TVC.