CAF Reach Deal To Renegotiate Controversial Broadcast Contract With Lagardere

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has reached a deal to renegotiate a contentious television and marketing rights deal with Lagardere Sports.

The commercial partnership with French media firm is now a subject of re-examination after several complaints and concerns over terms of the deal.

The decision comes as a massive boost for football officials in Africa as the 12-year deal with Lagardere was widely condemned right across the continent.

The new leadership of CAF, under the Presidency of Ahmad Ahmad, has agreed that they will spend the next weeks to reach tweak the terms of the contract.

It is expected that new terms of the contract will be announced by the end of the year.

This is in fulfiment of Ahmad's promise that the deal signed under previous leader Issa Hayatou would be renegotiated after anger from federations over the terms of the contract.

The 12-year media and marketing deal signed between Caf and Lagardere in 2015 is one of the controversial issues that has dominated headlines in African football.

The contract, entered into during the previous Caf regime led by Hayatou, is worth $1 billion.

The deal saw Lagardere securing media and marketing rights for all Caf tournaments, including the Africa Cup of Nations and Champions League.

When current Caf president Ahmed was elected into power two years ago, he promised to review the deal that has also attracted the competition authority in Egypt.

But with the possibility of running into a legal minefield, Caf leader Ahmad has adopted a more concialliary approach by convincing Lagardere to return to the table.

"We have agreed with Lagardere to sit and re-examine the terms of the contract. We will spend the next few weeks examining the deal and the concerns we have," Ahmad said at the CAF General Assembly in Sharm El Sheikh on Sunday.

"By the end of the year we should a concrete information to send to our members regarding the deal with Lagardere."

The deal with the French firm has courted huge controversies as Egypt's Economic Court charged previous leading CAF figures of violating local anti-monopoly rules by signing the multi-million dollar broadcasting deal.

Hayatou and the then General Secretary of CAF Hicham El Amrani are standing trial over charges of violating the country's competition law claiming it granted exclusive broadcasting rights to a single company without a tender.

The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) started to investigate the Lagardere deal in June 2016, prior to asserting - in January 2017 - that Caf had engaged in monopolistic practices that infringed local laws.

The deal gave Lagardere rights to a variety of African football competitions, including the flagship Africa Cup of Nations, from 2017 until 2028.

With Caf based in Cairo, Egyptian authorities maintain it is governed by local laws.

Hayatou and Amrani firmly reject accusations they committed any wrongdoing when signing a multi-million dollar deal with sports agency Lagardere in June 2015.

The Cairo Economic Court held several hearings in the case against Hayatou, who is accused of violating Egypt's Competition Law in selling exclusive broadcast and sponsoring rights to Lagardère Sports.

The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) has accused Hayatou and the confederation's Secretary-General Hisham El-Omrani of violating the competition law by granting exclusive broadcasting rights without a tender.

Dr. Mona El-Jarf, head of the Competition Protection and Prohibition of Monopolistic Practices Authority of Egypt, accused Hayatou and El Amrani of violating article 8 of paragraphs (a), (b) and (d) of Law 5 of the protecting competition and abuse of the exploitation rights.

This is in regards to the broadcast rights of the Africa Cup of Nations which was awarded to French company Lagardere Sport for 12 years from between 2017 and 2028 without offering it to other companies wishing to bid.