CFoot to close

CFoot, the digital-terrestrial television channel owned by the Ligue de Football Professionnel, the French football league, will close down at the end of the 2011-12 football season in France, according to l’Equipe.

The closure of the football-dedicated channel, which launched in August 2011, is likely to be confirmed at a league board meeting on February 10.

CFoot’s main offering was live coverage of nine games per week from Ligue 2, the second tier of French football, with some Ligue 1 matches broadcast on a delayed basis.

The channel has been squeezed out by the arrival in the French market of Qatari pay-television broadcaster Al Jazeera, which has committed to spending €170 million ($223 million) per year to broadcast Ligue 1 games and magazine programmes.

The closure of CFoot will force the league to launch a tender for domestic Ligue 2 rights for four seasons, from 2012-13 to 2015-16. The rights will include live coverage of all 10 Ligue 2 fixtures per week. Cable and satellite sports broadcaster Eurosport reportedly rejected the opportunity to extend a deal to broadcast Monday night matches from Ligue 2. Eurosport pays €12 million per year under the existing deal.