French radio to boycott United over 'racketeering'

Updated: 26 February 2011 13:02 IST

French radio stations have vowed to boycott the Manchester United v Marseille Champions League clash next month over the "exorbitant" transmission fees being demanded by the English Premier League giants.

French radio to boycott United over 'racketeering'

Paris:

French radio stations have vowed to boycott the Manchester United v Marseille Champions League clash next month over the "exorbitant" transmission fees being demanded by the English Premier League giants.


Radio France chief of sport Jacques Vendroux said United had demanded 26,000 euros from each French radio station wishing to cover the second leg of their last 16 clash at Old Trafford.

He indicated that the demand, the "most exorbitant sum" he had ever heard of, was all the more bizarre because English radio stations were able to cover the first leg in Marseille on Wednesday for free when the sides played to a scoreless draw.

As a result, he said Radio France and its two sister stations France Info and Radio Bleu Provence, would be joined by RTL, Europe 1 and RMC in boycotting the match on March 15.

"Two weeks ago Manchester United asked us for 26,000 euros in transmission rights for each radio station while the English (radio stations) got to work for free in the first leg (in Marseille) on Wednesday," Vendroux told AFP.

"Now, we have all agreed that we will not cover the match."

Vendroux added: "It's the most exorbitant sum I've ever heard being asked for a football match since the start of the Champions League.

"It's totally unheard of. We won't be part of this racketeering".

Marseille said it had approached United in a bid to resolve the issue, but were rebuffed.

The French champions said through press spokesperson Laurence Firmian it "understood the boycott on the part of the radio stations, given the prohibitive nature of the sum being demanded.

"We've done everything we can in discussions with Manchester United to dissuade the club from applying this rule, but our efforts have fallen on deaf ears.

"The main victims of this will be our fans at home, who won't be able to listen to the radio. It's a pity for our club as well."

Vendroux said he had "personally" informed UEFA chief Michel Platini, adding: "He (Platini) told me he would be looking into it and would inform the relevant service."

UEFA told AFP that each club was at liberty to allow "two radio stations free access on the night of Champions League matches, with a fee of around 1000 euros for technical purposes".

European football's ruling body added, however: "For all other radio stations, the host club is at liberty to exploit its rights as it likes."



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