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Lega Serie A maintains rights fee stance and ‘poised to issue Sky injunction’

Lega Serie A, the organising body of the top division of Italian club football, is standing firm on its media-rights payments policy, and is also poised to present an injunction against pay-television broadcaster Sky Italia later today (Wednesday), it has been reported.

Serie A has been suspended for over two months and it is hoped the season can resume on June 13. Earlier this month, Lega Serie A insisted that its rights-holding broadcasters must meet payment deadlines stipulated in their contracts “in order to maintain a constructive relationship” and the body has now reiterated this stance.

Sky Italia, OTT platform DAZN and the league’s international rights agency IMG have all been pushing for deferrals or rights fee reductions because of the shutdown.

Lega Serie A said in a statement published yesterday (Tuesday): “The League Council, when meeting this afternoon, confirmed, with regard to the relationship with audiovisual rights partners, the line of compliance with contracts in compliance with the resolutions passed by the Assembly on May 13.”

The league is set to present an injunction against Sky later today in a Milan court, Italian news agencies ANSA and AGI have reported. Sky has not paid the latest rights fee as part of its agreement with Serie A and is reportedly seeking a 15 to 18-per-cent discount even if the league does resume.

Sky Italia, DAZN and IMG were due to make their latest rights free payments on May 1 as part of their deals running from 2018-19 to 2020-21. The league is said to be considering the latest proposals from DAZN and IMG.

Serie A chief executive Luigi De Siervo told ANSA earlier this month that, although, the “door for dialogue with Sky has always remained open”, the league has “always stressed that it was necessary for Sky to meet the payment deadlines set by the contracts as a priority”.

He said: “We immediately made it clear that Sky’s request for a discount of between 15 per cent and 18 per cent, in the event of the continuation of the championship, obviously could not be accepted, especially during such a tricky financial period for our teams.”

Domestic live rights to Serie A games are currently held by Sky and DAZN in deals worth €973m ($1.07bn) per season, while IMG’s international rights deal is worth just over €380m per season for international broadcast rights, club archive rights, betting rights, a marketing spend and fee for access to the broadcast signal.

Lega Serie A said that an update on the resumption of the league and the Coppa Italia would be provided on Friday morning.