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TFF rejects latest Digiturk negotiation with payment still outstanding

Turkish football’s governing body, the Turkish Football Federation, has rejected beIN-owned broadcaster Digiturk’s latest offer to renegotiate the remainder of its five-season deal for the top-tier Süper Lig, which is tied to the heavily-fluctuating domestic currency.

A proposal from Digiturk to fix the entire sum it pays for exclusive rights to the Süper Lig to an exchange rate of $1/TRY3.8 was rejected by the TFF last week and SportBusiness Media has learned that a new offer above $1/TRY4 is now being considered.

Digiturk told SportBusiness Media that “it is plainly unsustainable for any credible broadcaster to operate under the terms of the deal” which it signed in 2016.

A Digiturk spokesperson said: “While Digiturk remains committed to the TFF having been its long-term partner for 20 years and the single-largest investor in Turkish football, Digiturk alone cannot shoulder responsibility for the commercial viability of the league in these unprecedented economic conditions, which are affecting all businesses.

“The football clubs, together with the TFF, need to propose solutions that recognise the wholly different economic reality that now exists, otherwise the clubs and the TFF will only further drive-up the TV costs for ordinary fans, while also putting at risk the future economic security of the league.”

A payment from Digiturk worth one-quarter of the annual fee was due earlier this month, but has still to be paid. It is thought the amount will remain outstanding until an agreement is reached.

It is understood that both remain hopeful of reaching an agreement before the start of the Süper Lig season on August 16, giving Digiturk and the TFF less than a month to conclude negotiations.

Digiturk’s existing deal with the TFF sees half of the deal paid in a fixed rate of $1/TRY3.26, with the remainder paid at the prevailing exchange rate on the day payment was due.

Had a deal to fix the payment at around $1/TRY3.8 been in place at the beginning of the 2018-19 season, it could have saved Digiturk around $60m.

Turkish Süper Lig team Konyaspor’s president president Hilmi Kulluk had suggested that Digiturk was threatening to walk away from its deal, though Digiturk denied the claim, describing it as “wild and inaccurate”.