Mediapro fires back in Athletic Bilbao rights dispute

The Mediapro agency has responded to claims by Spanish Liga football club Athletic Bilbao that it owes €7 million ($8.8 million) in television rights revenue by stating the club has breached several clauses in the contract between the two organisations.

Mediapro refused to disclose the nature of the violations, but said in a statement: “For more than one year, Mediapro has claimed, repeatedly, that Athletic Club [Athletic Bilbao] fulfil their contractual obligations. These claims have not been met. After the last meeting between the parties, Mediapro expected Athletic Club leaders to reconsider and comply with the obligations laid down in the contract.”

Athletic Bilbao president Josu Urrutia said Mediapro’s obligations could rise to €10 million. He said the dispute is causing financial damage to the club and it could take legal action if the payment continues to be withheld.

“We will take steps to fulfil this contract as we have done our part,” Urrutia said, according to La Voz de Galicia newspaper. “This is really doing much financial damage as the situation the club is in is complicated.”

El Mundo newspaper, citing a club source, said the club strongly denies breaching its contract with Mediapro. “We could have denied access to their cameras at San Mamés (stadium) and we have not done,” the source said.

Mediapro’s contract with Bilbao is due to expire on June 30. The club has signed a new three-season agreement with pay-television broadcaster Prisa TV worth €30 million per year for the 2012-13 to 2014-15 period.