Eurosport, the Discovery-owned pan-European sports broadcaster, has opened legal proceedings against French pay-TV operator Canal Plus over unpaid carriage fees at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, it has been reported.

Canal Plus is alleged to have withheld payments after a number of sporting events to have been aired by Eurosport were cancelled, according to French financial outlet Les Echos.

Eurosport is reportedly seeking to claim €10 million ($11.5 million) for the period around March 2020, when sports organisations were forced to cancel or postpone many events, while much of Europe was under lockdown.

The sports broadcaster is claiming reimbursement of payments not made along with damages and interest for unfair competition.

Eurosport receives an annual €40 million in fees from Canal Plus for the distribution of its channels. The Vivendi-owned pay-TV operator has so far not made the regular payment.

An initial hearing is now due to be held in January at the Paris judicial court.

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By GlobalData

Les Echos reports that Eurosport initiated the case in January and is still at a preliminary stage.

Canal Plus also faces legal action from commercial broadcasters TF1 and France Televisions in a separate case.

The pay-TV giant is no stranger to court hearings this year as it has been involved in contract disputes with BeIN Sports and the LFP, the French soccer league, over rights fees.

Canal Plus has also brought a separate case against the LFP over the low price of its rights deal with online retail giant Amazon.

The company is unhappy that the LFP awarded the rights for eight Ligue 1 games per matchday round to Amazon for €250 million a year, along with eight second-tier Ligue 2 games per round for €9 million a year, following the collapse of Mediapro’s €3.3 billion deal signed with the LFP in 2018.