Top 14 rights tender postponed after Canal Plus legal action

France’s Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR), the league body that operates the country's top-tier Top 14 and second-tier ProD2 rugby union divisions, has postponed a domestic rights tender after becoming the subject of legal action by pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus.

The league said that the legal action by Canal Plus was “totally unfounded,” but had disrupted the “smooth running of the tender” for the rights to the top two divisions to run for four seasons, from 2014-15 to 2017-18. The bids were due to be submitted today (Monday).

In December, the LNR activated a cancellation clause in its five-year agreement with Canal Plus, from 2011-12 to 2015-16. The deal was worth €31.7m ($43m) per year, but the league curtailed the deal in the belief that it could secure a more lucrative rights fee. Canal Plus will retain its rights until the end of the 2013-14 season.

“In taking this decision, the LNR intends to retain control of the timing and terms of the Top 14 rights,” the LNR said.