Domestic Top 14 rights tender set for late January

Paul Goze, the president of the Ligue Nationale de Rugby, has said that the auction for the domestic rights to the Top 14, the top division of rugby union in France, will take place before the end of January.

Goze said that invitations to tender would be sent out to broadcasters “before the end of this year, and probably before Christmas.”

The league will then receive bids between January 20 and 25.

The tender will be launched after the Court of Appeal in Paris dismissed an appeal by the league and pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus over the decision to suspend their rights deal for the Top 14 and hold a new sales process.

They appealed against an order by the Autorité de la Concurrence, the French competition authority, which said that the league must hold a new tender process for rights to run from the end of the current 2014-15 season, one year into Canal Plus’s five-year deal for the Top 14, from 2014-15 to 2018-19.

The competition authority originally ordered the league to hold the sales process by January 31, but the court said that the league should carry out the tender “as soon as possible and no later than March 31, 2015.”