Court approves French football divorce agreement with Mediapro

A local court on Tuesday cleared the way for the French football league (LFP) to reallocate its TV rights after it approved the withdrawal agreement struck with troubled broadcaster Mediapro.

"The decision ratifies the agreement" between the LFP and the Chinese-Spanish broadcaster, Mediapro lawyer Guilhem Bremond told AFP.

The commercial court ruling allows the league to recover 80 percent of the rights for Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, initially sold to Mediapro for more than 800 million euros ($970 million) a year starting this season.

It was a record deal for football in France, but a missed payment due at the start of October precipitated two months of negotiations as Mediapro sought to reduce the amount it paid.

French broadcaster Canal Plus, which already shows a limited number of Ligue 1 matches, is believed to be waiting in the wings to make an offer to take over Mediapro's matches, although it is likely to make a cut-price offer to ride to the rescue.

Ligue 1 clubs that are already counting the cost of a curtailed 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic and the loss of revenue from the absence of spectators, are now facing another financial hole.

In the meantime, clubs will be able to split a 64 million-euro compensation payment from Mediapro. Another 36 million euros will be paid out in early 2021. However, the combined total is a long way short of the 325 million euros the broadcaster has defaulted on since October.