Mediapro hits out as Hawk-Eye lands LaLiga’s VAR contract

The Mediapro agency has said it will contest a decision by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to choose Hawk-Eye as the supplier of video assistant referees (VAR) technology in the top two tiers of domestic football for the 2019-20 season.

Hawk-Eye has secured the contract for LaLiga and the Segunda Division after the RFEF launched its first tender for the contract, based on what it said were “exhaustive and demanding” technical requirements.

Mediapro provides VAR services in 16 competitions across the world and had done so for LaLiga and the Copa del Rey during the 2018-19 season “without any technical incident and to the full satisfaction” of officials.

Mediapro had also bid for the new contract, but the RFEF said Hawk-Eye has been selected. In a statement it added: “The great Hawk-Eye experience has been taken into account, to which Fifa awarded the 2018 World Cup of Russia and Uefa the Champions League, while it also provides this technology to the main European leagues.

“This is the first time that the RFEF has conducted a transparent contest with objective criteria for the award of this technology in Spain, in which exhaustive technical requirements have been established, even more demanding than those of Fifa.”

The RFEF and Mediapro have had a difficult relationship of late. Earlier this month, a Spanish court ordered the RFEF to reverse its exclusion of Mediapro from the domestic broadcast rights tender for the 2019 Copa del Rey final and re-adjudicate the process, this time including the agency’s original bid.

The court decreed a clause in the tender that formed the basis for Mediapro’s exclusion was a “flagrant abuse of the position of dominance held by the RFEF”.

Commenting on the award of the VAR contract to Hawk-Eye, Mediapro said in a statement: “Mediapro considers that the bidding rules especially benefited one of the two bidders, so that the economic offer and the quality of the technical aspects were irrelevant. The Mediapro offer was, on the other hand, the most advantageous of the two presented, meaning savings of almost €1m ($1.1m).”

The agency added: “Mediapro will launch all the legal actions that are in its power to prevent the infringement of its rights and to harm Spanish professional football in the awarding of contracts.”