IMG in discussions over withheld FA Cup rights payments

IMG in discussions over withheld FA Cup rights payments
Agency giant IMG is in discussions with the Football Association (FA), English football's national governing body, after withholding its most recent FA Cup rights payment.

According to the Daily Mail, IMG's contract guarantees payment to the FA irrespective of receiving funds from broadcasters. However, as the coronavirus pandemic ensured none of the English club football knockout tournament's quarter-final games were played as scheduled, IMG decided not to pay its latest instalment.

IMG pays an average of UK£100 million (US$123 million) a year for the FA Cup’s international broadcast rights – excluding Western Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa – as part of a six-year deal that began with the 2018/19 season and runs through 2023/24. The total agreement, which it shares with Pitch International for the remaining territories, is reportedly worth US$1 billion in total.

The FA Cup quarter-finals had been due to take place from 21st to 22nd March before they were postponed. It remains unclear when play will resume.

The Daily Mail adds that Pitch has paid the FA the full sum due for its rights. IMG’s decision comes after a string of broadcasters opted to withhold payments for various sports properties.

Notably, DAZN has written to a number of global rights holders to inform them that it will not be making its rights fee payments for any content that has not yet been delivered. Additionally, BeIN Sports has suspended its rights payments for France’s top two football leagues, Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. 

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