Now Free tries to revise LFP deal; Canal Plus court date set for 2 March
The company has even suggested it returns its rights at the end of the season, so they can be packaged into the wider tender the LFP is formulating.
Free is contracted to pay €41.8 million ($50.6 million) per year until 2023-24 to show clips of all Ligue 1 matches on mobile devices immediately after they have finished, but wants that figure to be significantly revised downwards in line with the rest of the league's domestic rights values, L'Equipe has reported.
In a letter to the LFP last week, Free chief executive Thomas Raynaud argued that the value of Ligue 1 has been depreciated by recent events
However, the company has not yet threatened non-payment to the league.
Canal Plus, the pay-TV broadcaster, now holds exclusive domestic rights to Ligue 1 until the end of the season, after a deal worth €820 million ($990 million) per year between Mediapro and the LFP was terminated midway through season one of what was meant to be a four-year deal.
The LFP will now go about tendering its rights from 2021-22, although it is unlikely to get anywhere near the sum Mediapro originally agreed to pay, in order to enter the French market and see off competitors Canal Plus and BeIN.
Canal Plus had pledged to pay a little more than €200 million for the remainder of the season: €168 million for the last instalments of its two Ligue 1 matches and €35 million to recover the matches from Mediapro.
The LFP dealt directly with Canal Plus after a quick domestic tender failed to yield sufficient bids.
Canal Plus did not engage in that tender because it is suing the LFP over its decision not to also include the two fixtures per week it acquired from BeIN.
Canal Plus' argument was that the LFP was being anti-competitive by trying to treat the same package of rights differently, and an initial hearing took place at the Paris Commercial Court last Friday.
The same court has now called for a hearing on 2 March.