French football seeks rescue package from government

The French Football received some respite last week when they successfully negotiated a stop-gap broadcast deal with Canal Plus after the deal with Media Pro was terminated abruptly in December. Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs got a much-needed boost as the pandemic has caused deep financial issues during the past nine months. Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) has now urged the French government to provide some sort of rescue package to help clubs tackle the financial crisis.

LFP released a statement on Tuesday confirming that there have been close to €1 billion losses to all French clubs. The governing body of French football also confirmed that the expected revenue for clubs was close to €1.3 billion, but currently, clubs are on track to record only €759 million in revenue.

The French government has previously released a relief grant worth 100 million for the French clubs, but LFP believes that package is not enough to help the clubs in the crisis. Instead of big packages, the French government may end up giving low-interest loans to clubs to offset losses due to the pandemic.

The losses for clubs have been largely due to the abrupt termination of a big broadcast deal with Mediapro in December and no matchday revenue due to games being played behind closed doors. The French leagues were the only big league in Europe that cancelled last season due to the pandemic. The cancellation of the 2019/20 campaign also caused problems for clubs as broadcasters were not ready to make payments for games that were cancelled.

The deal with Canal Plus is a big blessing for Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs. However, LFP will have to do much better in negotiating a bigger deal with broadcasters at the end of the season. Fans are unlikely to return to stadiums anytime soon, so broadcast revenue is going to be crucial for clubs across France.

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