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Jun 23, 2011

Al Jazeera make move into Ligue 1

Al Jazeera have made a shock move into European TV rights after they bought a package of exclusive live French football for €90 million a year.

Canal Plus, the long term rights holders, won four packages to Ligue 1 from 2012 to 2016, but will be sharing with the Qatari TV station, who will show two live games a week.

The French league announced on Thursday that Al Jazeera has were awarded 'Lot 5' of Friday night and Sunday evening games.

The arrival of new investment is a major boost to French football at a time when it was thought that their TV revenues would diminish.

The combined deals are valued at €510 million per season, and emphasises the growing influence of Qatar in world football, as they prepare to host the 2022 World Cup.

Indeed, the country's elite have been continually linked with a £1.5 billion bid for Manchester United, sealed a lucrative sponsorship deal with Barcelona and, perhaps most importantly for French fans, saw investors taking over Paris Saint-Germain.

Al Jazeera Sports recently agreed a six-year deal for the overseas right to French football strengthening the role of football in Qatar, but that is nothing compared to the move into buying up live rights in France itself.

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