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RTVE won’t bid for rights to RFEF’s Saudi Supercopa

Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid with the Supercopa de Espana trophy (by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Spanish public-service broadcaster RTVE has joined the chorus of criticism concerning the Spanish Football Federation’s (RFEF) decision to stage its Supercopa club competition in Saudi Arabia, stating it will not bid for broadcast rights as this would be “incompatible” with its constitutional principles.

RTVE, which operates the flagship TVE channels, today (Thursday) cited human rights concerns as a factor in its decision, in particular the rights of women in Saudi Arabia.

The broadcaster said: “These humanitarian reasons make RTVE’s participation in this sporting event incompatible with its constitutional principles and with its repeated commitment to the promotion of women’s sport.”

Earlier, LaLiga president Javier Tebas criticised the RFEF’s decision, citing Saudi Arabia’s alleged support for pirate broadcaster beoutQ. On Monday, the RFEF announced a lucrative three-year hosting deal with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, estimated to be worth €120m ($132m) over three years (from 2019-20 to 2021-22).

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Atlético Madrid will take part in the revamped event, which will reportedly take place from January 8-12 at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.

The CNMC, Spain’s competition watchdog, this week claimed that the RFEF’s domestic and international Supercopa invitations to tender violate the 2015 Royal Decree which governs the sale of broadcast rights in Spain.

Nevertheless, the RFEF this week issued the tender documents for the domestic and international rights sales processes.

The RFEF has issued bid deadlines of November 28 for domestic and international broadcast rights to the Supercopa.

The invitation to tender documents were issued on Tuesday as two concurrent sales processes were launched in Europe and the rest of the world. Broadcast rights on offer cover the 2019-20 to 2021-22 period, matching the contract term in place with Saudi authorities.