Canal Plus 'not a bank' to bail out French soccer, claims Saada
Maxime Saada, chief executive of Canal Plus, has defended the French pay-television broadcaster's decision to withhold payments to the LFP, the French soccer league, for rights, claiming the company is "not a bank."
Ligues 1 and 2 have been suspended since mid-March, and with no guarantee of when matches will resume, Canal Plus recently took the decision not to pay the next instalment of €110 million ($119.5 million) that was due at the weekend.
Fellow rights-holder BeIN Sport followed suit, holding back its €42 million.
Both broadcasters have a final payment to make on 5 June.
The LFP hit out at the actions of Canal Plus last week, calling on all stakeholders to show solidarity, but the broadcaster's stance has not softened.
Saada (pictured, right, with LFP chief executive Didier Quillot) told French media: "Canal + does not have to insure the treasury of French clubs... There are deadlines and a legal mechanism which means that when you are not delivered [content], you do not pay. We are not a bank."
The LFP has insisted that Canal Plus still owes money despite the suspension of fixtures because 28 of the 38 matchdays, or 73.7 per cent, have been completed. The LFP said Canal has only paid for 67 per cent, meaning it owes €43 million.
In response, Saada said: "Legally, the calculation is wrong and irrelevant. This calculation is not in the contract."
BeIN and Canal Plus hold Ligue 1 rights until the end of this season in a deal worth €726.5 million per season.
BeIN, market newcomer Mediapro and Free will share Ligue 1 coverage from 2020-21, whenever that season starts, having snapped up the rights for a total of €1.153 billion per season, a 59-per-cent uplift on the value of the current deal.
While Canal Plus was due to relinquish coverage of Ligue 1, it has sub-licensed rights from BeIN from next season as part of an exclusive distribution deal between the two companies.