Thirteen La Liga clubs have
threatened to postpone the start of the season on the weekend of
August 18/19 over a television rights dispute involving
broadcasters Canal+ and Mediapro.
Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid, Real Betis, Celta Vigo,
Espanyol, Getafe, Granada, Real Mallorca, Osasuna, Rayo
Vallecano, Real Sociedad, Sevilla and Real Zaragoza issued a
list of demands which included a call for the professional
league (LFP) to adopt a "transparent and regulated" system for
fixing match kick-off times.
They urged LFP president Jose Luis Astiazaran, who has been
accused of helping some clubs with favourable kick-off times that
disadvantage others, to convene a meeting of all 20 La Liga
clubs next Tuesday, August 14, to discuss and vote on the demands.
The rights dispute escalated last month when Canal+, which
is owned by the Prisa group, said Mediapro's announcement of an
auction for La Liga TV rights was "illegal" as it included clubs
who it says have signed exclusive deals with Canal+.
The broadcaster cites a Spanish court ruling that limited
rights contracts to three years and which it said nullified some
of Mediapro's deals. With less than two weeks to go before the
season is due to begin a solution appears remote.
In their joint statement on Tuesday, the 13 clubs complained
the dispute had created "a situation of serious legal insecurity
which affects all the clubs".
They called on broadcasters to settle any outstanding debts
with the clubs and to drop any legal demands against them.
"In the event that an acceptable solution for a majority of
first division clubs is not achieved, the clubs are prepared to
adopt whatever measures necessary, including postponing the
start of the 2012/13 league championship," the statement said.
Many of the 13 are also unhappy with the way Real Madrid and
Barcelona dominate revenue from audiovisual rights due to the
lack of a system of collective bargaining and income sharing
like those used in rival European leagues.
Atletico chief executive Miguel Angel Gil warned last week
that the future of La Liga was under threat unless Real and
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