RFEF issues rights tender for futsal competitions amid LNFS legal case
The RFEF, the Spanish soccer federation, has launched a media rights tender for the country’s futsal competitions despite an ongoing legal battle with the LNFS, the top-tier domestic league.
The national body has set a reserve price of around €5.2 million ($5.9 million) for a total of eight broadcast packages.
The tender covers the five-year period from 2022 to 2027 for the top men’s and women’s leagues, the domestic cups, and youth tournaments.
Parties interested in securing five-year agreements must provide offers at least 10% higher than the reserve price, which would increase the fee to a minimum of around €5.7 million in total.
The RFEF stated that it will give preference to offers for three years and explained in the tender that, for four- or five-year deals to be assigned, offers must be between 10% and 15% higher than the three-year proposals.
The federation has issued the tender despite an ongoing media rights dispute with the LNFS.
The league signed a five-year rights deal with LaLigaTV, the in-house over-the-top (OTT) television channel of the premier Spanish soccer league, in 2018.
But in April 2020, the RFEF, headed up by president Luis Rubiales, claimed formal ownership of all audiovisual rights to multiple competitions including the LNFS under changes to its statutes approved by the CSD, the country’s higher sports council.
The federation then proceeded to omit the league’s LaLigaTV agreement but the OTT platform has continued to show games since.
Towards the end of 2019, the RFEF had already moved to take control of the top two futsal divisions in Spain, replacing the LNFS, which oversaw national competitions for 30 years.
However, the clubs maintained they retained control of the rights under the terms of the Royal Decree Law of 2015, which restored collective selling in Spanish soccer, and cited several judgments by provincial and commercial courts in Madrid and resolutions of the CNMC, the Spanish competition regulator.
At the start of the 2020-21 season, the RFEF sold rights to the top men’s league to RTVE which led to the LNFS threatening to take legal action against the public-service broadcaster if it did not stop showing its matches.
While legal proceedings with a dozen clubs are ongoing, the federation has decided not to market their rights in the tender.
The RFEF stated that the potential offers for 2022-2023 must be presented “for the total value that would be paid if all the clubs participating in the competition were actually adhered to and for the said season the corresponding price will be applied proportionally to the number of teams that would have participated.”
The LNFS’ five-year deal with LaLiga is worth around €5 million, which has boosted the revenue of its clubs, with €1.43 million distributed to each team for the present 2021-2022 season.