Lyon's Aulas wants collective Ligue 1 legal action over BeIN contract
Jean-Michael Aulas, the outspoken president of French soccer club Lyon, has once again taken up the mantle of challenging Ligue 1's international rights partner BeIN Media Group, the pay-television operator, over the value of the existing contract.
At a meeting of club owners yesterday, Aulas called for a collective approach to pursuing legal action against BeIN, L'Equipe reported.
BeIN holds international rights to Ligue 1 in a deal running from 2018-19 to 2023-24 that is worth, on average, €80 million ($86.4 million) per season, some way below Spain's LaLiga, Germany's Bundesliga and Itay's Serie A.
Aulas (pictured), who is also president of the Ligue 1 clubs body, first broached the subject of legal action in October 2019, a year after clubs' dissatisfaction with the BeIN deal broke in the French media during the Sportel Convention in Monte Carlo, much to the bemusement of executives from the Qatar-headquartered broadcaster.
In December 2018, LFP director general Didier Quillot said the time was right to improve the terms of the international rights contract with BeIN after its domestic rights sales brought in over €1.2 billion a season for the four-year period beginning with the 2020-21 season, with those rights to be held by BeIN and market newcomer Mediapro.
Ligue 1 clubs argue that the BeIN international contract was struck before global interest in the league ramped up after Paris Saint Germain signed Neymar and the emergence of French sensation Kylian Mbappe, and therefore the rights are severely undervalued.