By Omolagba Oluwayemi – Nigeria
World footballing body, FIFA has asked CAF President Ahmad Ahmad and his vice Constant Omari to appear for questioning and explanation over the changes to the broadcasting contract with Lagardere Sports.
In 2016, Lagardere signed a 12-year deal with the continent’s football authority as their exclusive agent for the sale of the rights, including broadcast rights, for its competitions, including the Africa Cup of Nations, the African Nations Championship and the CAF club competitons.
In 2017, the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) found that the agreement breached Egyptian competition rules because Lagardere was appointed as CAF’s exclusive agent for the marketing and media rights for an uninterrupted 20-year period without any open tender.
By the same decision, ECA declared the agreement null and void and imposed a number of remedies on CAF. Those remedies included the obligation to immediately terminate the Agreement and suspend its effects within the Egyptian market.
Lagardere then vowed to fight to enforce the contract and said it would defend its agreement which was set to run from 2017 to 2028.
By the following month, on Saturday, December 14, 2019, to be precise, CAF confirmed the International Chamber of Commerce had rejected an application for emergency measures lodged by Lagardere Sports.
CAF also stated that Lagardere Sports has been “ordered to pay the administrative costs of the arbitration proceedings and also to contribute over 60,000 euros (US$66,000) towards CAF legal costs.”
On January 17, 2020, a leading figure at Lagardere Sport, the French sports marketing company, told Inside world football magazine that his company is seeking up to $90 million in compensation from CAF for breaking their 12-year marketing contract.
“We had nine years left on our contract, before CAF decided to unilaterally terminate it. As the Chief Executive of our parent company told the French financial media, we were to earn an estimated USD 10 million per year from the contract.”
“So, at USD 10 million per year, with nine years left, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how much we are seeking in compensation from CAF,” the high-level Lagardere source said.
The case had been on with the parties involved fighting for what they believe is their right regarding the deal.
In a new development, FIFA has now asked CAF President Ahmad Ahmad and his vice Constant Omari for an explanation on the changes in the deal with the broadcasting company.