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Globo foiled in bid to block Flamengo state championship broadcast

(Photo by Bruna Prado/Getty Images)

Brazilian commercial broadcaster Globo has failed in its attempts to block Flamengo from broadcasting its forthcoming Carioca State Championship match on the club’s TV channel, FlaTV.

The Justice Tribunal of the State of Rio de Janeiro ruled that the club can broadcast Wednesday night’s match against Boavista in the wake of the government’s decree which places a club’s media rights in its own hands.

Globo, which has five days to appeal the decision, has been highly vocal in its opposition of the government’s provisional law which allows home teams in Brazil to take full control of their media rights. The law means that home teams do not need to negotiate with the away side in situations where both have individually-negotiated agreements with separate broadcasters.

According to the judge’s ruling, details of which have been published by ESPN Brasil, it was “not up to this court to examine the possible consequences” of the government’s media-rights decree for the management of Brazilian football. In the specific case between Flamengo and Globo, it was ruled that, without an agreement in place with the club, Flamengo is authorised to decide what to do in terms of broadcast of its match.

The ruling said that the “possible transmission of the games by the defendant [Flamengo] based on [the] MP 984 [decree] does not break the commitment between the plaintiff and the other signatory clubs to the terms of the assignment of rights. This is because, at the time the contract was signed, the clubs were aware of Flamengo’s non-adherence and its consequent contractual impact.”

The decree, which is the brainchild of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, is due to remain in place for 120 days from when it was first handed down (June 19) but must be ratified by the Brazilian Congress in order to become a fully-fledged law.

The broadcaster had taken the Flamengo case to the Rio de Janeiro court, seeking a R$2m (€326,500/$366,600) penalty in the event that the club opted to broadcast the Boavista match on FlaTV, which is available as a channel on popular video sharing and live streaming platform YouTube.

Globo holds individual rights deals with the 11 other clubs in the Carioca State Championship. The broadcaster failed to strike a deal for pay-television, pay-per-view or free-to-air rights with Flamengo for its home matches in the competition.

Globo is the dominant broadcaster of domestic Brazilian football, holding free-to-air and pay-per-view rights to all 20 Campeonato Serie A clubs and pay-television rights of 12 Serie A clubs. US broadcaster Turner pay-television rights to the remaining eight clubs.