Serie A files injunction over broadcast rights

Italy’s top professional football league, Serie A, has filed an injunction against broadcaster Sky-Italian over broadcast rights for the remainder of the season.

The Serie A season was halted after the games of March 9 as part of Italy’s national coronavirus lockdown. Serie A said Sky-Italia still owes it 233 million euros ($256 million) for broadcast rights. According to Italian media, the broadcaster reportedly asked for a discount of 15 to 18 per cent on that amount.

If successful, the injunction filed in Milan Wednesday would force Sky-Italia to pay the full amount or it could allow Serie A to seek another broadcaster for the remaining 114 games left on the schedule, reports Xinhua news agency.

It is still uncertain when or perhaps even if those games will be played. The 20 teams in Serie A voted this month to restart the season on June 13, pending a government ruling on social distancing and health protocols. A decision on that is due this week.

Minister of Sport Vincenzo Spadafora said earlier this week that, if the Serie A season can be completed, the remainder of the season should be broadcast in Italy for free given that stadium attendance would either be barred or severely limited. That would also reduce incentives for fans to gather to watch games in crowded sports bars, where coronavirus social distancing rules would be difficult to enforce.

Sky-Italia has broadcast at least part of the Serie A season dating back 17 years using a pay-per-view model.

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