The resounding divorce of the Professional Football League with Mediapro, the main holder of the TV rights to the French Championship, on Friday caused concern among French football players, primarily Ligue 1 coaches.
“Hard blow”, “double penalty” … The defaults of the Sino-Spanish group, accumulating nearly 325 million euros in arrears, have forced the League to go into debt to prevent clubs from not being able to pay their employees. “It’s still a blow for French football, that’s for sure,” admitted Lyon coach Rudi Garcia. There is also no ticket office, because the other hard blow is the Covid and there are no spectators in the stadiums. “
The finances of the clubs have already been tested by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has dried up ticketing revenue, and by the premature end of the Championship which prevented them from receiving part of the TV rights of last season. “It’s double the penalty. We have not only not touched the end of TV rights that we should have touched with the end of the season in the spring, and in addition, we will not have the billion for which we were, perhaps, stopped earlier to start this 2020-2021 season in the best conditions, ”commented Rudi Garcia.
“We will have to find a quick solution, already, so that people can see the matches, as quickly (as possible).”
The end of the contract with the group led by Jaume Roures, which condemns the Telefoot channel created ad hoc at the start of the season, also throws uncertainty on the broadcasting of matches, pending a reallocation of rights to other broadcasters. Téléfoot promised that it would continue to broadcast Ligue 1 “at least until December 23”. “We will have to find a quick solution, already, so that people can see the matches, as quickly (as possible). Already there are no spectators, if in addition there is no more football on television … ”, dropped the coach of the Girondins de Bordeaux, Jean-Louis Gasset.
“In the current situation, we give people a little balm, and then (we will have to) find the best solution so that the clubs limit the damage and do not suffer too much, because things will change anyway », He continued. Marseille coach André Villas-Boas said his “concern about the financial stability of clubs”. “So far, we have in Marseille the chance to have an owner who puts money to pay salaries and run the club. It’s not like Mr. Roures. Frank McCourt (the owner of the OM, Editor’s note) continues to respect the contracts, it’s not like the other ”, said the Portuguese technician, addressing his support to the employees of Téléfoot soon to be unemployed. “It’s a situation which is really not easy but I hope that the best solution will be found for everyone, for the sustainability of professional football, so that we can find something a little more normal” , for his part said the coach of Rennes, Julien Stéphan.
“There are fears because the trend is not for the things promised (by Mediapro) to be kept.”
French football, which has broken with its failing broadcaster Mediapro, is at the “crossroads” between “fears” and “hopes”, Sylvain Kastendeuch, co-president of the players’ union UNFP, told AFP: “He There are obviously general fears. It is understandable that the leaders are very worried, that all the actors are very worried and that the players are also worried. There are fears because the trend is not for the things promised (by Mediapro) to be kept. Everyone is preparing for difficulties, the players are well aware of these difficulties. We at the UNFP are worried, but at the same time, there is confidence in those who are currently negotiating. I think of Vincent Labrune, the president of the League, the teams of the League and the presidents of clubs who are also committed. We are a bit at a crossroads, we cannot say too much but we have fears and hopes. ”