France’s top rugby union clubs are set to activate a cancellation clause in their current domestic league rights deal with pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus in an attempt to negotiate a more lucrative agreement, according to French newspaper L’Equipe.
The report said that the Ligue Nationale de Rugby, which operates the top-tier Top 14 and represents the interests of the league competition’s clubs, could cancel the current deal between September 1 and December 31 this year.
The newspaper said that the club presidents of Bayonne, Toulon, Montpellier, Racing Metro and Bordeaux-Begles are keen on striking a new deal.
“Two years ago, Canal Plus underpaid for the rights,” Bordeaux-Begles president Laurent Marti said. “The current agreement is laughable…We must terminate and re-negotiate.”
The deal with Canal Plus is worth €158.5m ($206.1m) over five years, from 2011-12 to 2015-16, or €31.7m per season.
Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal added: “In 2011, their first offer of €20m was almost shameful, almost a way of taunting us.”
Canal Plus has been the Top 14’s main domestic broadcast partner since 1995.