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Court orders Spanish federation to re-run Copa del Rey final award, include Mediapro

A Spanish court on Monday ordered the country’s football federation, the RFEF, to reverse its exclusion of the Mediapro agency from the domestic tender for the 2019 Copa del Rey final and re-adjudicate the process, this time including the agency’s original bid.

The court decreed a clause in the tender that formed the basis for Mediapro’s exclusion was a “flagrant abuse of the position of dominance held by the RFEF”.

The federation is unable to appeal the decision. Last week, it awarded the domestic rights to the final, which will be contested by Barcelona and Valencia on Saturday, to public broadcaster TVE.

The federation had barred Mediapro from bidding for the property for failing to meet a provision in the process that candidates “must be a company, group of companies or be part of a group of companies where none of them (parent or subsidiaries) has been criminally sanctioned or has recognised their criminal liability or that of their Directors”.

RFEF cited the involvement of two managers at Mediapro’s US subsidiary in world football governing body Fifa’s corruption scandal as the basis for the agency’s exclusion from the tender. Mediapro settled the case with US authorities, but it maintains the two managers were acting independently and were fired for their actions.

The court found the clause that contained the provision was “unilaterally disproportionate to Spanish Law on public procurement criteria, without providing reasonably sufficient period to appeal”.

The court also reprimanded the federation for the tight deadlines set for the rights tender given the final’s May 25 date. The RFEF originally launched the domestic tender on April 23 with a bid deadline of May 6 before inviting a second round of bids with a May 10 deadline.

The judgment was in response to an injunction sought by Mediapro after its exclusion from the Copa del Rey final tender.

Mediapro said in statement: “The severity of the decision handed down by Commercial Court Nº 12 in Madrid is an endorsement of what Mediapro had maintained from the outset: its complete competency to participate in RFEF tender award procedures or those of any other sports body.”

RFEF told SportBusiness Media it had yet to receive formal notification of any court order on the matter.

“If in the course of the next few days, the RFEF receives any notification, the Legal Services of this house will analyse it with the aim of issuing a response as soon as possible,” it said.

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