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Fox Sports agrees to pay final Eredivisie rights fee tranche

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 8: (L-R) Ridgeciano Haps of Feyenoord, Bart Nieuwkoop of Willem II during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Feyenoord v Willem II at the Stadium Feijenoord on March 8, 2020 in Rotterdam Netherlands (Photo by Angelo Blankespoor/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Pay-television broadcaster Fox Sports has agreed to pay the final fee instalment for the Dutch Eredivisie football league despite the continued suspension of fixtures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the release of the final instalment of €22m ($23.6m) is conditional on the league not unilaterally cancelling the season’s remaining matches, according to the ad.nl website.

Fox’s decision to pay the fee comes as a boon to clubs struggling with the commercial consequences of the coronavirus lockdown. The higher-profile clubs look set to receive a bigger share of the cash, with Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord receiving over €2m each, and smaller clubs getting around €500,000 each.

The clubs in the second-tier First Division will have to wait until next month to receive their final fee payments, it is claimed.

Fox Sports holds broadcast rights for the Eredivisie in a 12-season deal running from 2013-14 to 2024-25 and worth an average guaranteed sum of €80m per season.

At the start of the month, the Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) said that it was working to the scenario of finishing the 2019-20 season by August 3 at the latest or permanently discontinuing the season.

Fox Sports had previously been tight-lipped about whether it would withhold the fee instalment. Its decision to pay the fee contrasts with the position taken by several broadcasters of other European football leagues. For instance, French pay-television companies Canal Plus and beIN Sports have decided not to pay fee instalments totalling €152m for Ligue 1 and Ligue 2.