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Mediapro and Atlético Madrid denounce Barcelona for airing women’s league match without permission

Supporters of FC Barcelona women during the UEFA Women's Champions League final match between Olympique Lyonnais women v FC Barcelona women on May 18, 2018 at Ferencvaros Stadium in Budapest, Hungary(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

Spanish media-rights agency Mediapro has spoken out against FC Barcelona after the Spanish club defied a court order by broadcasting its match against Atlético de Madrid in the Primera Iberdrola, Spanish football’s top-tier women’s league.

A court hearing in Barcelona’s 47th court of first instance ruled on Friday that Barcelona could not broadcast the match as it had failed to gain the consent of Mediapro and Atlético Madrid.

Atlético is part of a 12-team group of clubs in the top-tier Primera Iberdrola women’s football league in Spain whose media rights were purchased collectively by Mediapro earlier this year, agreeing a three-season deal worth €3m ($3.3m) per season.

The judge ruled that FC Barcelona must gain the permission of any club in this group before broadcasting across any medium.

Mediapro sought the court’s ruling as it claimed that if FC Barcelona was to broadcast the match then it would be infringing on its copyright. The agency and production group claims that the club did not announce its intention to broadcast the game at all until September 19.

Barcelona is one of four clubs who did not sign with Mediapro and whose collective rights belong to the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). The other three clubs are Athletic Club, Tacon and Sevilla.

Maria Teixidor, Barcelona’s director for women’s football, today defended the club’s decision to air the weekend’s match on Barça TV. She told the club TV channel: “It’s not the men’s football league, it’s the women’s league. Regulation is different.”

She added: “We are the organisers of a match at home and we are the ones who can broadcast what happens there. Away from home it’s different.”

Atlético Madrid director of sports management José Manuel Díaz Pérez was reported by Marca as having said: “Atlético Madrid expressly informed FC Barcelona that it did not authorise the retransmission of the match, live or delayed, in full or as highlights.”

The 2019-20 Primera Iberdrola season has been overshadowed by a debate between the RFEF on one side, and Mediapro and the Spanish women’s football association (ACFF) on the other.

This is the first season Mediapro has paid a fee for the rights to the Primera Iberdrola, despite holding the rights since 2013. The deal was agreed in February with the RFEF almost immediately disputing the ACFF’s ownership of the rights.

Earlier this month, the RFEF presented a new rights proposal to the clubs in the top two division. In the case of the 16 Primera División clubs, the joint sales proposal offered a guaranteed €500,000 per season to each of the teams.

Mediapro has previously threatened the RFEF with sanctions after it was blocked from broadcasting the Primera Iberdrola match between Madrid CFF and Real Betis Féminas on Sunday, September 8.