FC Barcelona is appealing against the decision of the Spanish National Competition Commission (CNMC in its Spanish initials) made on 28th November 2013 to impose a fine of 3,600,000€. The Club has two months to lodge an appeal.
The sanction originates in a audiovisual rights agreement signed between the Club and Mediaproducción SL, in which the latter bought the rights for the 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons. In its ruling, the CNMC stated that ceding the audiovisual rights for four seasons (the maximum permitted by the General Law of Audiovisual Communication 7/2010, of 31st March), contravenes a resolution of the Council of the CNC of 14th April 2010 that limited the duration of contracts for the acquisition of audiovisual rights to a maximum of three years.
The contract that is now subject to sanction was signed by the previous Board of Directors on 9th June 2010, four days before the presidential elections. At the time, that decision was questioned by some of the candidates because of the commitment it would impose on whoever won the election. The CNMC has also imposed a fine on Mediaproducción S.L. and three other clubs, all for the same infringement of the above mentioned resolution of the CNC Council on 14th April 2010.
FC Barcelona’s appeal is based on the understanding that the contract was signed in accordance with the General Law of Audiovisual Communication, and that the contract has not affected in practice the audiovisual marketplace.
Before presenting the appeal, the Club will have to pay the fine or guarantee the sum involved, which will have an impact on the current financial year, notwithstanding that a future favourable court decision may involve the return of the payment made.