beIN Media Group’s rights granted by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) are set to be terminated by the conclusion of this year, following a ruling by the COMESA Competition Commission (CCC).

The regulatory body determined that all media rights previously awarded to beIN Media Group by the regional football entity violated the competition regulations.

In its verdict, the watchdog highlighted the absence of an open tendering process for the allocation of pay-TV broadcast rights for CAF competitions.

According to CCC, this resulted in a substantial hindrance, restriction, and distortion of competition within the common market.

The commission had commenced investigations on CAF nearly a decade ago with initial findings indicating CAF was culpable of engaging in anti-competitive practices.

The commission expressed concerns about the scope of the media rights outlined in the Bein agreements, coupled with the absence of a transparent tender process and the excessive duration of the agreements, which were deemed likely to have led to a significant impediment and distortion of competition in the relevant market.

As per the ruling, all media rights granted to beIN Media Group within the COMESA region under the existing agreements are mandated to cease on December 31st, 2024.

CAF has been instructed to allocate all future exclusive media rights for CAF competitions within the common market through an open tendering process.

Furthermore, the football federation is prohibited from entering into exclusive agreements for the exploitation of TV rights of CAF competitions for a term exceeding four years.

Both CAF and beIN Media Group have been levied fines of $300,000 each and have a 60-day window to file an appeal against the regulatory decision.

The penalties underscore the seriousness with which the competition commission views the violations, signaling a commitment to enforcing fair and open competition practices within the jurisdiction of regional football media rights.

In its report on the findings, CCC said CAF was in contravention of competition rules through exclusive arrangements that locked out other players.

gandae@businessdayafrica.org