NEWS
Wednesday December 12 2012
Rebels look to redefine TV rights

La Liga’s rebel clubs are reportedly close to drawing up a plan of action to redress the balance of power and television money in the top flight.

A total of 13 Primera Division clubs threatened to take strike action at the start of this season over the scheduling of kick-off times at 11pm and over the continued imbalance in the distribution of broadcast revenue in favour of Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid, Real Betis, Celta Vigo, Espanyol, Getafe, Granada, Mallorca, Osasuna, Rayo Vallecano, Real Sociedad, Sevilla and Real Zaragoza eventually agreed not to strike after talks with the Spanish Football League (LFP), but Atleti President Enrique Cerezo said at the time that further talks will take place in a bid to ‘protect our interests and those of the League’.

Subsequently, the 13 clubs are expected very soon to present a report and plan of action to the LFP in a bid to action change in the distribution of broadcast revenue in the Division.

The clubs, through Atletico’s contacts, are understood to have taken legal advice from law firm Senn Ferrero and intend to challenge the current set-up - which sees clubs negotiate individual deals with broadcasters - as first of all being in contravention of competition law at European level.

Second, these rebels are also understood to hold the belief that the League must hold independence from the Segunda Division and that negotiating broadcast rights for games must be handled by the separated League’s management for the collective 20 clubs, as is the case in the English Premier League’s model.

According the report produced by Senn Ferrero, Primera Division accounts for 80-90 per cent of the television revenue that is shared with the Segunda Division.

Currently, the G30 - a group of Primera and Segunda clubs - negotiate collective rights for a number of clubs split between the two divisions. Under the new set-up, the 80-90 per cent of total revenue the Primera is after would be split only between the 20 top-flight teams.

The third conclusion from the report is apparently relating to how the money will then be distributed between the 20 clubs. The idea is to follow the Premier League and Serie A models, that allow for a majority percentage split evenly between the clubs, and smaller percentages are split according to League position and, in the Italians’ case, also an assessed ‘standing’ of each club in recent years.

Football Italia website