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RTP ‘unravels’ over Champions League bid

National TV station RTP’s bid to clinch the broadcasting rights for the next three years of the UEFA Champions League has ended in unmitigated disaster.
Opposed from the start by the government – which had left decision-making to RTP’s administrative council – political pressure has been brought to bear through the CGI (Conselho Geral Independente) which has now suggested that the State “sacks the council”.
Where it leaves RTP’s €15 million bid to broadcast one of the best-watched football fixtures of the sporting calendar is anyone’s guess. From the sidelines, it looks increasingly likely that this too will be scrapped and the deal picked up by TVI.
For now all that seems certain is that the government will act on the CGI proposal and sack all those currently running RTP.
It is a stalemate that came to a head when RTP made the decision to spend €5 million a year for the next three years on securing the rights to broadcast the popular Champions League.
The government, locked as it is in its focus on austerity, naturally considered the expense excessive, but there was nothing official that could be done about it as RTP’s administrative council under Alberto da Ponte was only answerable to the GCI.
Earlier this week, this independent body considered that RTP had “violated the principles of institutional loyalty” by keeping the details of the multi-million euro bid under wraps until the last possible moment.
Poiares Maduro, the government minister who created the CGI in September, is now due to call a meeting of the General Assembly to ratify the sacking of RTP’s current leaders.