Bolívar hits out at FBF media-rights tender, alleging ‘irregularities’

Bolivian football club Bolívar has raised concerns over the invitation to tender issued by the country’s football association (FBF), saying that the conditions laid out in the process are not “equal” to all parties.

Bolívar’s senior management wrote to the FBF, reports Pagina Siete, contesting a point that caused controversy in 2016 around the preference for rights to be awarded to a third party, not a direct bidder.

In 2016, Bolívar was one of a number of clubs to have expressed their dissatisfaction that the FBF agreed with the Sports TV Rights agency that the third-party preference would be included in any future rights tender.

The club argues that this would act in favour of Sports TV Rights, the incumbent rights-holder of the División Profesional, top tier of Bolivian domestic football.

The agency is one of three bidders that were revealed to have submitted offers for the 2021-24 cycle for the equivalent rights by the FBF on Monday (August 10). The rights would encompass the División Profesional and the second-tier División Aficionados.

Telco Telefónica Celular de Bolivia (TELECEL) and GolTV, the pay-television broadcaster active in the Americas were the two other bidders in the process.

Telecel has offered $46m (€39.1m) over the four-year lifespan, while GolTV’s offer is worth $49,979,276 over the same period, the FBF announced. The latter’s offer also contains a revenue-sharing element.

The FBF announced that Sports TV Rights’ offer was $46.53m over the four years, though this has been contested by the agency’s director José Quiroga.

Quiroga argued that the agency offered around an additional $5m for the production of a video assistant referee (VAR) system in both leagues, which would place its overall value at around $51.5m.

Quiroga also argued that the agency’s higher offer rendered the issue around the preferential clause moot.

GolTV told Pagina Siete that its offer equates to $45m for the broadcast rights and an additional $4.979m for the VAR system.

División Profesional broadcast rights are currently held by Sport TV Rights in a deal worth $4.1m per season and which expires at the end of this season.

The FBF set a deadline of August 10 for first-round bids to be submitted, with the offers to be assessed on the same day. The Federation last month cancelled an initial broadcast rights tender for club competitions.

The FBF previously moved to reclaim control over the División Profesional rights from 2021 onwards. The rights reclamation stripped the league’s 14 clubs of negotiating their own broadcast rights in favour of placing the collective negotiating power with the FBF.