Real Madrid and Barcelona may be
willing to agree a more equitable distribution among Spain's
professional clubs of revenue from television broadcasting
rights, according to sports minister Jose Ignacio Wert.
"I believe that Madrid and Barcelona are receptive and are
ready to be more flexible in the sharing out of [income from]
rights," Wert was quoted as saying in Wednesday's edition of As
He also warned that if media firms were unwilling or unable
to continue paying current prices for rights, which are one of
the principle sources of income for football clubs, "the situation
for football will be difficult".
Barca and Real did not immediately respond to a request for
Clubs in La Liga negotiate their TV deals individually,
unlike other major European leagues which have systems of
collective bargaining, and Real and Barca take about half the
total pot of around 641 million euros.
Research published in April by Jose Maria Gay, a professor
of accounting at the University of Barcelona, showed that in the
2010/11 season Barca reaped 163 million euros from TV rights,
Real earned 156 million, while Valencia earned 42 million.
The disparity in wealth means the big two's domestic rivals
struggle to afford the best players or meet their wage demands
and have no chance of challenging for the league title.
Valencia, who finished third last season, were 30 points
behind second-placed Barca and 39 behind champions Real.
Introducing a system of collective bargaining similar to the
one used in the English Premier League would level the playing
field and help prevent clubs racking up unsustainable debts,
analysts have said.
Spanish clubs had combined debt of some 3.53 billion euros
in the 2010/11 season, Gay's research showed.
Clubs owe a total of 763 million euros to the tax
authorities alone and Wert told As he was confident a recent
agreement under which those debts would be paid off over time
would resolve the problem.
"We are in a very difficult liquidity situation," Wert said.
"I do not believe that any club will fail to meet its
obligations and that the situation will be resolved relatively
rapidly," he added.
"The professional football league (LFP) is very committed
and very active in the preparation of the protocol and I believe
the clubs will meet their obligations scrupulously.
"But it has to be regulated by the sector itself."
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