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Canal Plus must play, pay for Olympics

TV giant trying to wiggle out of contract, legal director sez

PARIS — French pay TV giant Canal Plus will broadcast this year’s Sydney Olympic Games. A Paris appeals court has ruled that the premier channel must honor its contractual obligations to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) for the broadcasting rights.

Canal Plus had agreed to pay the EBU $50 million for the right to air the Sydney Games this year, the Athens Olympiad in 2004 and the 2008 Games. But when several European commercial stations contested the channel’s right to belong to the EBU, the French pay web was excluded.

Canal Plus argued that these developments released it from the contract. A lower French court took Canal Plus’ side, but the EBU appealed, and the new ruling will now force Canal Plus to pay.

Werner Rumphorst, director of the EBU’s legal department, on Monday accused Canal Plus of “trying to find legal reasons to wiggle out of its contract.”

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