France’s Professional Football League (LFP) has won the latest round of an ongoing legal battle with pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus regarding the ‘Yellow Vests’ protests. The case in question concerns the consequences of the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ (‘Yellow Vests’) protests, which hit France in late 2018. The broadcaster took legal action against LFP in the Gilets Jaunes case in mid-2019 following a series of match postponements.
The LFP had to postpone 12 top-tier Ligue 1 matches and one Coupe de la Ligue semi-final during the 2018-19 season as protests against the political establishment swept across France, bringing travel disruption in several major cities.
TThe matches had been broadcasted on Canal Plus and the broadcaster was claiming €46m ($55.9m) in compensation at Paris’ Commercial Court due to the effect on subscriptions and audience figures. Canal+ argued that the LFP took the decision to rearrange matches “unilaterally…without trying to find alternatives” and failed to “involve Canal Plus in the search for a solution”. They also went on to say that the games were rescheduled to less favourable time slots for broadcast coverage, with eight of the postponed fixtures shifted from the weekend to midweek.
The LFP refuted the claims and the Commercial Court has now ruled in its favour, according to Libération. The French newspaper said that a ruling issued on June 1 found Canal Plus guilty of an “act of denigration” against the LFP, ordering to pay it €10,000 in damages, as well as €50,000 in reimbursement of legal costs.
Both the parties were involved in another dispute regarding TV rights. Since the collapse of the €3.25 billion Mediapro TV deal last season, French football has been in turmoil. LFP agreed to a much lower €365 million a season deal with Canal Plus to see them through to the end of the season. Canal +wanted to broadcast only what they consider as the two best matches of the game week but LFP was against this idea. However, beIN sports have now taken over as the official broadcasters of the French League.