BeIN alleged that partner Canal+ had failed to respect the terms of its contract with regards to Ligue1 matches.
BeIN Sports has lost a legal case against Canal+ at the Nanterre Commercial Court in Paris. The court has authorised Canal+ to suspend the sub-licence contract with BeIN Sports for the broadcasting of two Ligue1 matches for each round of the competition.
However, this is only the first round in the legal dispute between the parties and BeIN and the Professional Football League (LFP) are ready to fight back.
BeIN sued its partner Canal+ in order to force it to respect the contract for the two Ligue1 matches, worth €332m a year. Canal+ announced its intention to withdraw from the contract following the allocation of rights by the LFP last month of 80% of matches to Amazon Prime.
During these proceedings, Canal+ argued that its contract with BeIN required the latter to take the LFP to court to find the “lapsing” of the contract with the LFP relating to ‘Lot 3’ and to request the termination or revision of this contract. BeIN, therefore, failed to meet its contractual obligations, according to Canal+. Indeed, Canal + is not directly in a contractual relationship with the LFP and cannot act directly. In its ruling, the Nanterre Commercial Court said that by refusing to take legal action requested by Canal+, BeIN has not fulfilled an essential obligation of the contract.
Canal+ may, however, be forced to make the payment if BeIN Sports takes action to recover the money from the LFP, as requested by its partner. The court’s ruling is based on a clause in Canal+’s agreement with BeIN Sports that stipulates the latter must take legal action if Canal+ requests that it do so.
Following the ruling, beIN announced it will take legal action against the LFP, which from next week will go through the French justice system, Competition Authority and European Commission. In the meantime, it had been reported that the LFP is preparing to take legal action against BeIN at some stage this week.