Mediapro ‘sees no problem’ with 22-club Ligue 1

Spanish agency and production group Mediapro has no issues with a 22-club French football top tier, it has been reported, following the decision by the country’s highest administrative court to suspend the relegation of Amiens and Toulouse.

The agency told L’Équipe that an expanded Ligue 1 “would not be a problem” for either itself or its new subscription television service, Téléfoot, which will broadcast both top-tier and Ligue 2 matches for the 2020-24 cycle.

It is reported that Amiens indirectly approached Mediapro to ascertain its position on a 22-club Ligue 1 after both it and Toulouse were told by various parties that the agency would not look favourably upon an expanded league given increased production costs.

The Conseil d’État ruled on June 9 that, in addition to suspending the two clubs’ relegation, the French Football League LFP and the sport’s governing body in the country, the French Football Federation, should re-examine the format of Ligue 1 for the 2020-21 season.

An expanded Ligue 1 holds out the possibility of a new rights round for the 82 additional matches that would result for at least the 2020-21 season.

Mediapro holds rights to eight matches per match week for the 2020-24 cycle, worth €780m ($878m) per season, while pay-television beIN Sports has the rights to two matches, for which it will pay €330m per season. BeIN has since sublicensed its rights to pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus.

The LFP ended the 2019-20 domestic season after Prime Minister Édouard Philippe ruled that no professional sport could be played in the country until September.

The LFP used an average points-per-game system to determine league positions, which meant the relegation of Amiens and Toulouse, with Lorient and RC Lens promoted from Ligue 2.

Last month, the LFP voted in favour of expanding Ligue 2 from 20 to 22 teams for the 2020-21 season. The Conseil d’État ruling means that potentially the number of second-tier clubs will remain at 20 next season.