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Lagardère’s request to address termination of Caf deal rejected by Ahmad

Ahmad Ahmad, the president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), has refused a request from the Lagardère Sports agency to address the recent termination of the two parties’ agreement at the organisation’s executive committee meeting tomorrow (Thursday).

Caf recently terminated its 12-year agreement with Lagardère Sports. The deal covered the sale of Caf’s media and sponsorship rights internationally from 2017 to 2028 and was worth $1bn (€903m). Competitions covered by the agreement include the flagship Africa Cup of Nations, the African Nations Championships and the Caf Champions League.

Lagardère described the move as a “unilateral decision” that was “unlawful, unreasonable and unjustified”. Caf has strongly defended the move, describing it as a “legal consequence” of recommendations by two different competition authorities.

The deal has been investigated by the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) and the Competition Commission of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (CCC). Caf has insisted that it had “no choice but to terminate the agreement” following the respective stances taken by the competition bodies.

The “landmark” agreement, which was an extension of a previous deal running from 2009 to 2016, was announced in the middle of 2015. Then-Caf president Issa Hayatou said at the time that Caf had “appreciated and is very satisfied” with the agency’s performance.

Earlier this year, Caf renegotiated part of the deal to take back control of certain free-to-air media rights in sub-Saharan Africa.

Hayatou’s successor, Ahmad, has now rejected a request from Lagardère to discuss the termination. Lagardère has responded by sending a letter to Caf addressing Ahmad’s decision.

The letter, the contents of which have been reported by the Inside World Football website, reads: “Following today’s telephone conversation with the Caf secretary general, Mr Mouad Hajji, we take note of your refusal to allow Lagardère Sports’ representatives to be heard by the Caf Executive Committee at its next meeting of 21 November 2019, as kindly requested in our letter of 15 November…to which you have not seen fit to respond.

“We very much regret this decision. Indeed, we continue to consider that such a hearing before the Caf Executive Committee would be the forum for a constructive and unfiltered dialogue and, as indicated in our letter mentioned above, would make sure that the Caf Executive Committee’s members have complete and clear information before making a conscious decision about the future of Caf’s relationship with Lagardère Sports, within the framework of the position to be taken by the Executive Committee on the disputed decision of Caf’s Emergency Committee to terminate our contract dated 28 September 2016.”

The termination of the agreement requires approval by Caf’s executive committee.