Argentinian football clubs at odds over new rights deal

Clubs in Argentina’s Primera Division, the top tier of football in the country, are reportedly at odds over the future direction of the domestic broadcast rights model.

Meetings being held this week have been tackling the subject of broadcast rights for domestic football, with the government’s Football for All (FPT) scheme, which ensures free-to-air coverage of domestic competitions, seemingly set to be disbanded at the end of the year.

Earlier this month, it emerged that US media companies Fox and Turner had put forward a 15-year offer for the rights. Argentinian newspaper La Nacion said Fernando Marín, chairman of the FPT scheme, had received a formal proposal from the two companies that will take effect from January 1.

The offer was set to be put to the clubs for discussion, with the contract being proposed to the government as it is still technically the rights-holder for the Primera Division. Following meetings on Monday, the Clarin newspaper said Fox and Turner had made an offer worth two billion pesos per year (€122.6m/$130m), with the possibility of reviewing the contract every five years and the implementation of annual increases of 10 to 12 per cent from 2020.

The Primera Division currently consists of 30 clubs, and the Terra.com.ar website said that following meetings held yesterday (Tuesday) a group of 10 teams openly expressed their opposition to the terms put forward by Fox and Turner. They instead called for rights talks to be postponed until after elections are held at the Argentinian Football Association.

Alfredo Dagna, representing Olimpo de Bahía Blanca, told Radio Rivadavia: “The idea is to call elections in March, the money they (Fox and Turner) are offering is not enough. Ideally we should first reform the (AFA) statutes and then call elections for the new president to choose what to do.”

Talks are set to continue with more meetings scheduled for today (Wednesday).