Egypt's ECA takes administrative measures against CAF over broadcasting deals

Ahram Online , Thursday 5 Jan 2017

The competition authority demands that the African Football confederation open bidding for live broadcast rights in the Egyptian market in a way that guarantees transparency and competitiveness

CAF President
CAF President Issa Hayatou (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's Competition Authority (ECA) announced on Thursday a range of administrative measures against the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for striking a broadcast deal which the ECA says violates Egyptian anti-monopoly laws.

A statement by the authority sent on Thursday to media outlets said that the ECA demanded the CAF cancel its agreement with the French-based Lagardère company to exclusively broadcast CAF games.

The ECA stressed the CAF should grant the right to stream matches from the upcoming African Cup of Nations in Gabon on the internet to at least one Egyptian company.

Egypt is competing in the African cup, which runs from 14 January to 5 February.

The ECA also said that the CAF should open bidding for live broadcast rights in the Egyptian market in a way that guarantees transparency and competitiveness. 

The ECA said that while it agrees that the CAF has the right to market and obtain maximum returns in its broadcast agreements, it should not violate free and fair competition by granting broadcast rights in excess of four years.

The competition authority said it would allow the CAF seven days to implement its demands.

On Wednesday, the ECA said it referred the CAF President Issa Hayatou and the Qatari-based BEIN sports group, which holds CAF broadcasting rights, to Egyptian prosecution for violating broadcast laws.

The authority said in a statement on its website that Hayatou abused his position in granting Lagardère broadcasting rights for African football competitions from 2017 to 2028 without opening up bidding for other companies.

The ECA also said that BEIN has cut services for Egyptian subscribers to the country's Nile Satellite, forcing them to switch to the Qatari Suhail satellite in order to watch African football matches.

The ECA said that while it recognises the rights of BEIN to broadcast the upcoming African Cup of Nations cup in Gabon – which starts in nine days – on an exceptional basis and due to a time crunch, it still believes CAF should grant live broadcast rights for the tournament to other companies that have already applied to CAF to obtain permits to carry the tournament.

CAF technical department head Mohamed Shatta told Al-Ahram Arabic daily website on Thursday morning that the CAF has not received any notice regarding the referral of CAF president Hayatou to the prosecution for violating competition regulations.

The CAF is the administrative body for African football competitions and controls the prizes, finances, regulations and media rights for those competitions.

The body was founded in 1957 in Khartoum by the Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese football associations.

CAF's headquarters is based in Cairo.

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