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Turner draws up Brazilian battle lines over Série A match broadcasts

The Brazilian arm of US pay-television broadcaster Turner is gearing up for a legal battle against media group Globo after announcing which matches it will broadcast using the powers granted by the controversial ‘PM984’ media-rights decree.

Turner released a list of 12 matches that it will broadcast until mid-October using the temporary measure, beginning with the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A match between Coritiba and Internacional on Saturday, August 8.

Matches will be broadcast between the third and tenth match weeks and have already drawn ire from Globo, which boasts the majority of media rights for Série A clubs. Globo announced last week that it has taken legal action to prevent Turner from showing Brazilian league matches including clubs with whom the Rio-based broadcaster holds pay-television contracts.

The matches scheduled by Turner include Coritiba against Flamengo and Palmeiras versus Goias in the third round. Three matches are scheduled in the tenth round, including Santos against São Paulo.

PM984’s introduction has caused a great deal of friction in the Brazilian market after its creation by the Brazilian government, led by president Jair Bolsanaro. The measure enables the home side in Brazilian domestic matches to have sole discretion on the sale of its media rights. Both teams were required to agree a broadcast deal for a match to be aired prior to its introduction.

PM984 is due to expire in mid October unless ratified into Brazilian law by the National Congress. Turner plans to “use the decree” until its validity is scheduled to expire, according to Brazilian news portal UOL.

Globo is the dominant broadcaster of domestic Brazilian football, holding free-to-air and pay-per-view rights to all 20 Campeonato Série A clubs and pay-television rights of 12 Série A clubs. US broadcaster Turner pay-television rights to the remaining eight clubs.

The Brazilian media group has been staunchly against PM984 since its introduction and has taken an aggressive stance against clubs and rival broadcasters that have exploited it.

Globo has also requested the termination of its rights contract for South American football’s top-tier Copa Libertadores competition. The group has been heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic which has also impacted on the US dollar-Brazilian real exchange rate.

Its rights to the property are worth around $65m (€55m) per season after agreeing a four-season rights deal for the 2019-22 cycle in 2018.