La Liga clubs threaten strike

SPAIN’S La Liga could be “shut down” if a TV rights law is not passed allowing for collective bargaining.

A number of clubs have threatened to “halt La Liga” if the government does not pass a law that allows for a fairer share of money from television rights.

Currently, the two biggest clubs in Spain – Real Madrid and Barcelona – pocket around half the annual La Liga TV money of €650 million, leaving the rest of the clubs having to share the remainder.

Espanyol president Joan Collet told Spanish radio this week: “We are ready to halt La Liga if this (law) does not come out in one, two or three weeks. I have already spoken with clubs like Valencia. We would have to hold another assembly but we are ready if the government doesn’t get a move on.”

Mr Collets’s comments come as the Premier League in the UK has just agreed a new collective TV rights deal with Sky and BT Sport for 2016-19 worth £5 billion (€6.7 billion). In Spain, La Liga clubs negotiate their own contracts with television companies. These contrasting set-ups mean the team that earns the least in the Premiership gets around £106 million (€142 million) per season, while in Spain they get just £11 million (€14.8 million).

Teams like Espanyol, Sevilla and Valencia are hoping that a collective deal can be reached that would enable them to demand more from broadcasters, which would then be shared out more equally.

“We are still maintaining this disgraceful situation with two clubs (Real Madrid and Barcelona) earning what nobody else in Europe earns,” said Mr Collet. “The current TV contracts are nearing their end and because the law has not been approved we cannot negotiate the new ones.”

Mr Collet said that Barcelona appeared ready to accept change but that Real Madrid did not.

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