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Lega Serie A rejects latest move by Mediapro on rights agreement

Lega Serie A, the governing body of the top division of Italian club football, has today (Tuesday) reaffirmed its decision to scrap its rights agreement with Mediapro after the Spanish agency yesterday said it had presented financial guarantees for the contract.

The Lega Serie A last week returned to the drawing table for its next set of domestic media rights after opting to terminate its contract with Mediapro. The decision was taken unanimously by the Serie A clubs during a Lega assembly meeting held on May 28.

Lega Serie A in February accepted an offer for its domestic broadcast rights from Mediapro for the three-season period spanning 2018-19 to 2020-21. The Lega said the agency had made an offer worth €1,050,001,000 ($1.26bn) per season, exceeding the minimum revenue target of €1.05bn that had been set, but the deal has been met with challenges ever since it was struck.

Mediapro yesterday said it had presented the financial guarantees requested by the Lega, adding it was ready to resume the process of selling the rights, taking into account the decision of the Court of Milan.

Sitting in the Court of Milan, Judge Claudio Marangoni last month ruled that Mediapro and Lega Serie A had to re-evaluate a tender launched in April, following a challenge lodged by pay-television broadcaster Sky.

Sky initially secured the suspension of the tender process following a ruling on April 16. Marangoni stated that the tender must be cancelled as it was not properly formulated and breached antitrust rules, a verdict that Mediapro had appealed against.

The Lega is now set to start private negotiations over reassigning the rights, with president Gaetano Miccichè stating that it will retain €64m already paid by Mediapro as a deposit.

Miccichè said that talks with other operators commenced this afternoon, adding that he expects negotiations to conclude on Friday. Another assembly meeting on June 13 is expected to lead to the partial or full reallocation of the rights.

According to Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Miccichè said the Lega assembly today considered the latest guarantee presented by Mediapro as “not complying with the notice, therefore unacceptable, under different points view, both formal and quantitative”.