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Digiturk yet to pay first quarter of Süper Lig fee as FX issue resurfaces

Digiturk, the Turkish pay-television subsidiary of beIN Media Group, is yet to pay the first 25 per cent of its fee for the broadcast rights to the 2020-21 Turkish Süper Lig as an issue over the exchange rate between the Turkish lira and US dollar has re-emerged.

The broadcaster’s deal with the Turkish Football Federation, the Süper Lig’s rights-holder, runs until the end of the 2021-22 with its instalments paid at the FX rate on the day of payment.

The current rate stands at $1/TRY7.58 and the broadcaster is now in negotiations in an attempt to protect itself against a currency which has fluctuated wildly in recent years.

Digiturk and the TFF renegotiated their deal last summer and agreed the new arrangement which is set to run for the next two seasons.

The disputed amount in this instance is approximately equivalent to a payment which Digiturk withheld last season after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Digiturk had held back about $100m (€84.3m) which was eventually paid after the season was concluded.

The payment issue has has been played down by TFF president Nihat Özdemir, who recently said of the co-operation with beIN’s Digiturk: “This is our third year. We want to work even longer. As far as I can see, the broadcasting company managers [also] want to work longer. In a few days, we will conclude our agreement for the new season and continue.”

Özdemir also told the Milliyet newspaper this week that beIN wants to extend its contract “by two years or more”.

Mehmet Sepil, the president of Süper Lig club Göztepe, told Turkish media that the talks between Digiturk and TFF continue with the clubs not having received an advance on their broadcast rights payment. Sepil said that he expects the payment “required by the contract” to be made.