By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

DAZN files trade complaint against DFL after Sky wins broadcast rights

It was revealed yesterday that Bundesliga broadcast rights negotiations for the four seasons spanning from 2025/26 to 2028/29 were interrupted following an ugly dispute between Germany's DFL and internet streaming service DAZN. 

The German broadcaster saw its bid for the most lucrative league broadcasting package rejected on Monday despite the fact DAZN's bid was higher than that of competitor Sky. 

DAZN claims that this constitutes a violation of German Anti-Trust laws and has filed a complaint with the German Federal Trade Commission.

A now very public dispute between the German league body responsible for administering the country's top two footballing flights and internet streaming service DAZN now threatens to delay broadcast rights negotiations for the four campaigns between 2025/26 and 2028/29. The previous broadcast rights package - covering the 2021/22 campaign through the end of next year - was negotiated in the autumn of 2020. It was hoped that at least the channels responsible for covering the matches could be settled upon this spring before matters such as revenue sharing are subsequently taken care of. 

The dispute stems from the fact that - at the DFL's request - DAZN was asked to prove of its long-term financial solvency in order to back up a bid submitted on Monday. DAZN out-bid competitor Sky for the highly lucrative "B-Rights" broadcast package. The "B-rights" package includes rights to the Friday evening matches, all Saturday 15:30 kickoffs, and the promotion/relegation playoffs. DAZN currently retains rights to the Friday and Sunday matches under the current deal. Earlier this week, the Frankfurter Rundschau reported that rights were awarded to Sky despite DAZN's higher bid. 

Journalistic sources across the Bundesrepublik can now confirm this report and have even gained access to a letter-of-complaint filed by DAZN to both the DFL and Germany's Federal Trade Commission. DAZN claims that the request for documentation violates German federal anti-trust laws. The letter from the streaming service also insists that sufficient documentation had already been submitted. At the request of German football journalist Benni Hofmann of the Bundesrepublik's preeminent footballing publication, the DFL has responded to the accusations. 

"The demand for disproportionate financial assurances and the rejection of proof of solvency is an abuse of DFL GmbH's dominant position on the market for football rights in Germany," the letter reads, "and constitutes a decision by an association of undertakings that restricts competition. Despite this previously accepted position,  in the middle of the tender process, you demanded a very specific bank guarantee from DAZN within 24 hours - an impossible task."

"The DFL rejects these accusations in their entirely," the response - as quoted by Hofmann - reads, "The letter from DAZN Group Limited also contains a number of incorrect statements and misrepresentations of facts. DFL GmbH will of course conduct the procedure in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner in accordance with the tender procedures presented to the Federal Trade Commission and the provisions of the tender documents."
 

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