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RFEF ordered to pay Mediapro €12.3m in Copa del Rey rights case

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A court has ordered the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to pay €12.3m ($13.6m) in compensation to Mediapro for planning to exclude the agency and broadcast production group from a tender for media rights to the Copa del Rey.

In a statement, Mediapro said that RFEF president Luis Rubiales (pictured) “intended to exclude” the company from the tender, which covered media rights to the Copa del Rey from 2019-20 to 2021-22.

According to Mediapro, the RFEF withdrew the tender, thus preventing the awarding of the rights to the agency. Mediapro said that the Provincial Court of Madrid has declared that the RFEF incurred actions contrary to Article 2 of the Spanish Antitrust Act and Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The RFEF was sentenced to compensate the Mediapro for loss of profit derived from not having been awarded the contract to manage the media rights in Spain, Europe and internationally. The RFEF has been ordered to compensate Mediapro for loss of profit up to a maximum of €12.3m. The RFEF is also required to pay the costs involved in the proceedings.

The decision comes on the back of a judgement in January last year, when the RFEF was ordered to pay compensation to Mediapro after a court ruled that it unlawfully excluded the agency from the process of awarding the domestic and international broadcast rights to the Copa Del Rey across the 2019-22 cycle.

The latest development comes after the RFEF earlier this week cancelled an invitation to tender for its video assistant referee (VAR) services amid the ongoing legal process between the federation and Mediapro.

In March, the RFEF launched the tender process for its VAR services across a four-year contract, spanning 2023-24 to 2026-27. The following month, however, the process was suspended after the latest legal action taken against the RFEF by Mediapro.

The suspension came after the Commercial Court No.2 of Madrid issued an order granting a precautionary measure requested by Mediapro in relation to the tender.

Earlier this year, Mediapro claimed a legal win over the RFEF following the latter’s refusal to allow coverage of the 2019 Copa de la Reina final. Mediapro requested €242,000, plus interest, in compensation from the RFEF, a proposal that Mediapro said the Provincial Court of Madrid had accepted in full.

It marked the fourth time in a year that that the courts had sided with Mediapro, which has previously condemned the “erratic and personality-driven management” of Rubiales.

In May last year, Mediapro won a ruling against the RFEF after the Mercantile Court No.12 of Madrid decided that the governing body abused its position by not including Mediapro in the tender process for media rights to the final of the 2019 Copa del Rey.

The RFEF had previously been ordered to pay almost €1.25m in compensation to Mediapro following a court case relating to the award of video assistant referees (VAR) services to sports technology company Hawk-Eye back in 2019.

Following the latest ruling, Mediapro said: “Luis Rubiales’ obsession to inflict damage on Grup Mediapro and the repetition of illicit behaviour, subsequently sanctioned by the courts, only undermines the prestige of the institution, and reduces its economic resources due to compensation payments it must face.”

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Anniversary: PUNCHERS perfect winning strategies as Agali opens Media Amalgamated training

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With just eight more days before the kick-off of the highly anticipated novelty match between The PUNCHERS and Media Amalgamated team as part of celebrations of the 50th anniversary of The PUNCH, The PUNCHERS worked on their winning strategies on Friday at the Mountain Top University, Magboro, Ogun State.

 

The PUNCHERS go up against Media Amalgamated, a select group of journalists from Tribune, Nation, Vanguard, ThisDay, Leadership, Telegraph and The Guardian newspapers at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos February 24.

 

The highly anticipated and potentially explosive novelty match marks the commencement of an array of epoch-making activities for the 50th-anniversary celebration of Nigeria’s most-read newspaper.

 

In the second training session held at the team’s home ground, Mountain Top University, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the PUNCHERS, with 31 players from different departments of the company and coaches by AFCON 1992 bronze medallist, Friday Ekpo, intensified training ahead of the clash.

PUNCHERS’ veteran midfielder, Godspower Otor, said along with his teammates, they would concentrate on training and do their talking on the pitch.

“I read what one of our opponents said that they would flog us and I just laughed,” he said.

 

“We will allow them do their talkings in the media while we focus on training and allow the results to do justice. We are focused and training hard, our coach Friday Ekpo is not leaving any stone unturned as he ensures we get our movements and tactics right.

Friday’s training focused on our strategy, which we will perfect before the game day and I am sure we will be ready for the encounter.”

 

The PUNCHERS will have their third training on Saturday (today) as they intensify preparations for the novelty game against Media Amalgamated.

 

Former Super Eagles forward and bronze medallist at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations, Victor Agali, has been handed the task of coaching the Media Amalgamated team, who have their first training session today at the Legacy Pitch of the National Stadium, Lagos.

 

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Ivory Coast vs. Nigeria: How to watch Africa Cup of Nations, TV channel and live stream

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The Africa Cup of Nations will see a true heavyweight clash as hosts Ivory Coast take on Nigeria in Group A.

Back on Saturday, Les Éléphants started AFCON off well, notching a 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau in the tournament’s opening match.

However, one day later the Super Eagles were stunned by Equatorial Guinea, and needed a Victor Osimhen goal to come back for a 1-1 draw.

That leaves Nigeria in need of a result — and possibly even a win — to avoid a must-win situation during the final round of group-stage matches. A loss would leave a star-studded side on the brink of elimination.

For Ivory Coast, meanwhile, a win would guarantee a place in the knockout stages, and a draw in Group A’s other match would secure the top spot in the section.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the match.

Ivory Coast vs. Nigeria (AFCON)
When: Thursday, Jan. 18
Where: Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé (Ivory Coast)
Time: 12 p.m. ET
Channel/streaming: beIN SPORTS, Fubo

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Elegbeleye: NPFL Broadcast Rights still Available, No Exclusivity

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Companies seeking to acquire Broadcast rights of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) have been invited to approach the league body with offers for negotiation.

Chairman of the NPFL, Hon Gbenga Elegbeleye on Wednesday clarified that the adopted marketing approach of the board is for non-exclusivity which has not foreclosed the signing up of more rights holders.

Elegbeleye described as shocking, claims by an individual alleging that there was an offer for $11m dollars to the NPFL for the rights before the StarTimes deal was executed.

“For the avoidance of doubt and for public records, the NPFL and StarTimes deal took months to conclude and all through the duration of our negotiations, nobody approached us with any offer”, explained the NPFL Chairman.

He further narrated efforts of the defunct Interim Management Committee (IMC) to attract a Broadcast partner including getting the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) to broker a meeting with Supersport which at the end didn’t express interest in taking up the offer.

“The NPFL has an office in Abuja and the facilitator of the said $11m offer knows this place and has contacts of the NFF President. We are still very much open to negotiating as our deal with StarTimes provides for a third-party investor. 

“Let the person please come to our office or to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) because we are still open for more partnerships in the Broadcast space”.

The NPFL boss explained that the unbundling of the broadcast bouquet has made it possible to accommodate multiple partners

“It is obvious that we have unbundled the broadcast products and segmented the number of matches any rights owner can show every matchday. So there is still a window to accommodate genuine interests in our league broadcast partnership”, declared Elegbeleye, who also is the NFF’s Second Vice President.

Faulting claims that the League fail foul of the Public Procurement Act which governs sales of government assets in the country, the former member of the Federal House of Representatives, said, “The NPFL is incorporated as a private company limited by guarantee at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and is not captured in government funding.

“We do not receive funding from the Government but run our programme from money generated through sponsorships and we operate a transparent system that accounts for sponsors/investors’ funds to maintain the integrity of the league.

“In any case, we have made sufficient noise right from the inception of the IMC and we were able to have the very successful Super 6 on television, so there’s no person in the industry who is not aware that the League hasn’t been on television for the past six years. Where were they”? he retorted.

So far, the NPFL has secured two Broadcast Partners in Propel Sports Africa (PSA) for the Over The Top (OTT) platform and StarTimes for the Direct To Home (DTH) cable platform.

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