CAF, BeIN Sports In Contract War Four Months To 2023 AFCON

The governing body of football in Africa, CAF, has terminated its broadcast contract with the Qatari media giant beIN Sports four months before the 2023 African Cup of Nations.

The Qatari media outlet which was expected to cover the 2023 AFCON described the termination of its contract with CAF as unacceptable.

On September 1, 2023, BeIN Media Group, the owners of BeIN Sports, were informed that the contract they signed with CAF in 2017 had been terminated.

The contract is said to be worth $415 million and was expected to last for 12 years which means that it was expected to expire in 2029.

Aside from terminating its contract with the Qatari media outfit, CAF is dragging beIN Sports to court in an attempt to recover nearly $80 million in outstanding fees from the broadcast outfit.

The termination of the beIN Sports deal leaves CAF without a big foreign broadcast partner ahead of the forthcoming AFCON. This development could affect the international coverage of the 2023 AFCON, CAF Champions League, Confederation Cup, and the new African Football League if the tension between CAF and beIN sports is not resolved on time.

In response to the termination of its deal, the media company with its head office in Qatar acknowledged “several issues that have affected the contractual relationship” and informed CAF that it would file a lawsuit if an amicable resolution could not be reached.

BeIN Sports has voiced concerns about the termination process, alleging that it may not have been done properly because it lacked the inspection and approval required by CAF’s internal regulations. This potential procedural irregularity may be the center of the anticipated legal dispute.

A letter from the Qatari outfit to CAF and its executive committee members dated September 2, 2023, reads, “We are, of course, taking all necessary steps to robustly defend our legal position.

“I must make clear to you that beIN does not accept this termination and will take all necessary legal steps to challenge and overturn it.

“In addition, we have significant concerns that this major decision relating to CAF’s most valuable commercial contract may have been taken without the necessary scrutiny and approvals required under CAF’s internal regulations.”

Following this development, CAF has now canceled two significant contracts unilaterally in the last four years; the first termination resulted in a considerable payout for CAF.

Recall that CAF abruptly terminated the television and marketing rights arrangement with Lagardere Sports that covered the years 2017 through 2028 and guaranteed at least $1 billion which is the largest contract in CAF history.

After the termination of the contract, Lagardere Sports took CAF to court and demanded a $90 million compensation. But the court ordered CAF to pay $50 million which has been paid in November 2019.

BeIN Media Group is expected to follow the same example in settling the termination of its contract with the governing body.

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