SEVILLE - A group of 12 Spanish
top-flight clubs have vowed to press ahead with their campaign
to stop Real Madrid and Barcelona taking such a big chunk of
audiovisual rights revenue after a first meeting on Thursday.
Officials from Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid, Real Betis,
Espanyol, Granada, Malaga, Osasuna, Racing Santander, Valencia,
Villarreal and Real Zaragoza gathered at Sevilla's Sanchez
Pizjuan stadium want the sale of the rights to La Liga to be
centralised and income shared as in rival European competitions.
Sevilla president and host Jose Maria del Nido, one of the
most outspoken critics of the current system under which Real
and Barca take about half the annual pot of around 600 million
euros, said the campaign was "irreversible".
The sale of TV rights should be overseen by Spain's
professional league (LFP), which groups the 42 clubs in the top
two divisions, and Real and Barca would be invited to any future
meetings to try to find a solution, he told a news conference.
"None of the clubs present intend not to respect the
contracts we have signed with the television broadcasters," Del
"This does not mean that we all will not work towards having
a centralised sale [of TV rights] together with the body that
must conduct it, which is our Professional Football League.
"We reached the conclusion that either we continue down this
path to avoid a lack of competition or football will have few
options to solve the problem."
Real and Barca have declined to comment on the issue.
The difference in class and spending power between the two
heavyweights - the world's richest clubs by revenue - and
their domestic rivals was underlined by emphatic wins in their
opening league games of the season.
Spanish and European champions Barca crushed Villarreal, who
are competing in this season's Champions League, 5-0 at the Nou
Camp while Real demolished Real Zaragoza 6-0.
The results prompted the president of Villarreal to accuse
the big two of killing Spanish football, while Del Nido said La
Liga was "a load of rubbish" as only two teams had a realistic
chance of winning the title.
Spain has yet to adopt the system of collective bargaining
and income sharing used in other competitions like the English
Premier League and Real and Barca get a far bigger share of TV
money than rivals in other major European leagues.
The pair brokered an agreement late last year with 11 other
top-flight sides that would introduce limited revenue sharing
However, analysts have said the deal, which Sevilla,
Villarreal, Bilbao and several others refused to sign up to, was
likely to cement the big two's advantage while helping the other
clubs only marginally.
Officials from Real Sociedad, Getafe, Rayo Vallecano,
Sporting Gijon, Real Mallorca and Levante did not attend
Thursday's meeting, although Sevilla said in a statement on
their website that the first four of those
were sympathetic to the group's aims.
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