Competition watchdog investigates Spanish Super Cup rights tender

Competition watchdog investigates Spanish Super Cup rights tender
The Spanish Football Federation’s (RFEF) invitation to tender for rights to the Spanish Super Cup for the 2019/20 to 2021/2022 cycle has come under scrutiny after Spain’s competition watchdog claimed that it does not meet certain regulations.

A new report published by the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) said it is the fifth time it has urged the Spanish soccer body to comply with regulatory requirements when marketing  audiovisual rights.

Specifically, the CNMC states that the RFEF’s tender, which covers Spain, Europe and international markets, violates the 2015 Royal Decree, which relates to the sale of broadcast rights in Spain.

In doing so, the Spanish competition regulator has requested that the RFEF adapts its proposal to the norm and reforms its tender process in the future to meet principles of ‘publicity, transparency, competitiveness, and non-discrimination in awarding the rights’.

The regulator has also called on the RFEF to ‘eliminate the mention of the ownership of rights that are not recognised’ and not include ‘commercial opportunities and obligations related to advertising that are not covered by the applicable legal norm’.

The report was published on the same day that the RFEF confirmed that Saudi Arabia had been given hosting rights to the Spanish Super Cup for the next three years, in a deal reportedly worth €120 million (US$131 million).

The development follows a similar report published by the CNMC in September, which urged the RFEF to alter several aspects of its tender process for domestic rights to Spanish soccer’s Copa del Rey club cup knockout competition between 2019 and 2022.

Spanish broadcaster Mediaset secured those rights as part of a deal with the RFEF through to the end of the 2021/22 season, worth in the region of €80 million (US$88 million).

Non-Spanish rights to the domestic cup competition have also been awarded in parts of Europe and the rest of the world over the same period, though the RFEF has not disclosed who the buyers are.

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