Portuguese Football Federation ends RTP tie-up amid channel launch

The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) has opted to scrap a content partnership with public-service broadcaster RTP following criticism of the deal within political circles.

The memorandum of understanding, which was signed on January 9, provided for the creation and promotion of content, as well as the sharing of rights and resources. RTP would also have enjoyed priority in choosing to broadcast FPF competitions, and could broadcast games and programs televised by the federation’s new in-house channel, ‘11’, via its Africa and International platforms.

The FPF announced its plans for 11 in June 2018, with Nuno Santos, a former executive at RTP and pay-television channel SIC Notícias, to lead the channel. Channel 11 is set to launch in May and will be carried by Portugal’s three main telcos, Nos, Altice and Vodafone.

However, days after the signing of the memorandum, the Workers’ Commission of RTP queried the deal, in particular the role of RTP journalist Carlos Daniel, who was chosen as director of 11, while maintaining his contract with RTP.

The agreement was also questioned during the Portuguese government’s fortnightly debate, which was held earlier this week. Prime Minister António Costa revealed that the finance and culture ministries had raised their concerns over the agreement.

In response, an unnamed FPF official told the Meios & Publicidade newspaper that the federation has decided to end the agreement as its “spirit and objectives” have not been understood. The official added: “The FPF has enormous respect for RTP and all its workers. The FPF will continue to be available to analyse opportunities for cooperation with RTP on a case-by-case basis, as has always been the case, in particular those that allow football to develop and allow the Portuguese, those living abroad and the wider diaspora, access to the national teams’ matches.”