Serie A rights caught in deadlock after meeting rescheduled

Lega Serie A clubs have failed to come to an agreement after reconvening to assign the domestic broadcast rights to the Italian top flight on Thursday.

According to news agency Ansa, the 20 top tier clubs returned the same vote as last week’s meeting when 11 clubs voted for digital streaming service DAZN’s bid and nine clubs abstained from the vote, with 14 votes needed to approve a deal.

The league will reschedule a meeting again to discuss the ‘important issue’ but clubs have become restless as DAZN and Sky Italia battle it out for the rights cycle.

Earlier in the week, Ansa reported that seven clubs penned a letter to Serie A President, Paolo Dal Pino, calling for ‘the need to proceed without delay’ on the awarding of the ‘audiovisual rights for the national and international territory’. The letter, which is said to be issued by Atalanta, Fiorentina, Inter Milan, Juventus, Lazio, Napoli and Hellas Verona, also addresses the remaining 13 clubs that make up the Italian top tier.

The contingent added that the nine clubs that continue to abstain from the vote are opening themselves up for ‘legitimate claims for compensation’ by deploying ‘delaying and obstructive tactics’.

It has been widely reported that the aforementioned nine clubs abstaining from the vote are Benevento, Bologna, Crotone, Genoa, Roma, Sampdoria, Sassuolo, Spezia and Torino.

The nine clubs have now responded in a corresponding letter of their own, according to Calcio e Finanza, which reports that the clubs described the letter as being ‘unacceptable in terms of tone’.

It read: “We believed and still believe that these investigations are necessary before taking a decision that will decide our future in the next three years and that, if it turns out to be wrong, would seriously affect the future of Italian football. We find it inexplicable that these obvious insights have not yet been made and it would be very serious if, in their absence, the assignment would be made.”

Telecom Italia (TIM) has already said that it would back DAZN’s offer, with Bloomberg reporting that the Italian communications operator would cover around 40% of the rights fee investment, equating to around €1 billion of financing.

The streaming platform’s bid is said to be the most substantial offer on the table, pledging €840 million per season for the rights to seven exclusive games per week and co-exclusive rights to three further matches.