Africa: Lawsuit Likely as CAF Cancels Biggest TV Broadcast Deal

Harare — The Confederation of African Football (Caf) may possibly start another expensive legal proceeding after unilaterally terminating its current largest broadcast agreement with Qatari media giant beIN, BBC Sport reports.

The 12-year, U.S.$415 million deal was terminated with immediate effect on September 1 after CAF’s attorneys notified beIN Media Group, which owns the beIN Sports broadcasting business, of their decision.

CAF said that beIN violated their contract and is owed almost U.S.$80 million in unpaid fees.

In response, the media organization with headquarters in Qatar acknowledged “a number of issues that have affected the contractual relationship” and informed the governing body of African football of its desire to file a lawsuit unless “open discussions in good faith can resolve this issue”.

This is the second time in four years that CAF unilaterally terminated a deal with its largest financial partner. In November 2019, the decision was made to cancel the largest contract in CAF history, a television and marketing rights agreement with Lagardere Sports that covered the years 2017 through 2028 and guaranteed at least U.S.$1 billion.

The decision to cancel the contract cost the Cairo-based organization some U.S.$50 million in November 2019. This cost has been paid in the past year although Lagardere Sports, now known as Sport5, had asked for U.S.$90 million in compensation at first.

The Lagardere agreement was broken when Fifa Secretary General Fatma Samoura was in charge of the African organisation in her special six-month capacity as a General Delegate for Africa.

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