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Globo handed injunction to withhold $90m Fifa media-rights payment

Neymar is pictured after Brazil's 2-1 loss to Belgium in the quarterfinals of the World Cup. (Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images)

Brazilian commercial broadcaster Globo has been handed an injunction against world football’s governing body Fifa to withhold a $90m (€79.7m) broadcast rights payment.

Globo successfully argued that its financial situation has been impacted so heavily due to the Covid-19 pandemic that it is not in a position to pay the instalment, according to Brazil’s UOL news portal, which has seen a copy of the injunction issued by a business court in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

Globo and the Zurich-based world governing body agreed an eight-year deal covering all Fifa events between 2015 and 2022, including the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The latest instalment is due on June 30.

Along with its argument that the coronavirus crisis has caused financial difficulties to broadcasters worldwide, Globo also cited the postponement of various Fifa events to which it holds rights. These include the 2020 editions of the Futsal World Cup and the women’s U17 and U20 World Cups, which have all been rescheduled for 2021.

The case was heard by the Rio de Janeiro court where Globo said it had never previously missed a rights instalment payment.

It is now understood that Globo will not seek to cancel the contract, but will attempt to renegotiate the terms of its deal which could see a reduction in the level of fees paid to Fifa.

The case is now expected to progress to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Contacted by SportBusiness, Fifa said: “Fifa does not consider it appropriate to comment on discussions which are potentially subject to legal proceedings. We always seek to support our partners through constructive dialogue and have continued to do so throughout the difficulties all are experiencing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Fifa expects that Globo’s commitments are honoured and is confident that a solution will be found.”

Globo has been hit particularly hard during the Covid-19 pandemic, with Brazil one of the worst affected by the effects of the pandemic anywhere in the world.

The broadcaster suspended payment to a slew of rights-holders such as the Brazilian aquatics federation and the Paulista State Championship, while announcing that it would treat other rights on a “case-by-case” basis.

Globo could not be reached for comment on the Fifa payment issue when contacted today (Wednesday) by SportBusiness.