The Argentine government is poised to take over broadcasts of matches after the football federation broke off its contract with a local media group.
The government has offered to pay 600 million pesos for each season, more than double what the Argentine Football Federation (AFA), was getting for the broadcast rights.
President Cristina Fernandez and her husband Nestor Kirchner, her predecessor as president, have increased state control and participation in various sectors, including a state takeover of the country’s biggest airline and nationalization of private pension fund administrators.
“A new stage is beginning. We are in talks with the government to form a partnership,” Boris Lisnovsky, vice president of Independiente football team told La Nacion.
The AFA on Tuesday dropped its deal with TSC, the group that held the broadcasting rights, after it refused to pay more to televise the games.
Before ending relations with TSC, the AFA had been in talks with the government about a state takeover of broadcasts.
The AFA had sought to get more money out of TSC to rescue debt-ridden first-division football clubs, seven of which are in arrears on players’ salaries.
The global financial crisis has dried up a major source of funds for Argentine clubs as European teams are paying less to sign South American players. The clubs have also been accused of mismanaging their finances.
Argentine fans have to pay to see most games on cable or satellite television. But if the government takes over broadcasting rights, many games would be shown free.
TSC said in a statement it would “take all judicial measures to protect its rights” and those of all TV operators under the broken contract. The legal action would “include damages from the breach of contract” and “compensation for all investments made to guarantee the transmissions.”