Potential clash of titans is brewing between the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and the Spanish Football League (LFP) over television revenue sharing formula for the country’s football championships, writes Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports )
Barely 24 hours the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) General Assembly announced its decision to suspend football competitions in the country starting from May 16 over lingering television revenue sharing disputes, the Spanish Football League (LFP) has taken the option of filing legal action in its desperate bid to scuttle the industrial action and save the championships from disruption.
The LPF declared in a statement on Thursday ahead of its extraordinary meeting next Monday that it “has taken the corresponding legal actions in defence of the rights and legitimate interests of the clubs, as well as the rights of the competitions that it organises and that have been grossly affected by the aforementioned decision by the RFEF”.
“The RFEF’s decision is null and void by law… given that the sports law and the current co-ordination agreement attributes to the LFP the right to organise professional competitions and approve the sporting calendar of those competitions”, the league body stated. It threatened to claim serious damages should the Spanish FA fail to rescind its decision.
The planned suspension of football competition announced by RFEF President, Angel Maria Villar on Wednesday is expected to affect the Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao on May 30 as well as the final two rounds of Primera Division matches.
At the heart of the dispute is a proposed law which will force the RFEF to sell television rights for the Primera Division collectively as is obtainable in other leagues like England and Germany instead of the current sharing formula that grants top clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid the lion’s share of the proceeds.
With Spanish economy still on slow recovery from the global financial meltdown, Spanish Primera Liga has proved to be a veritable cash cow for the struggling economy, but the revenue sharing formula has remained a contentious issue. The new sharing formula is now the bone of contention. For instance, the proposed legislation, which is before the Spanish Assembly waiting for passage, awarded 4.55 per cent of pools revenue from the Spanish government to RFEF, a slice of the cake the federation deems inadequate.
Backing the RFEF in this power-tussle to shoot down the proposed reform is the Spanish professional footballers’ union (AFE), the union is reportedly considering strike action as well, as it is unhappy at being left out of the negotiations coupled with its own lack of big share in the revenue deal.
In contrast, the LFP fully supports the proposed law which it considers win-win for all stakeholders. In its latest statement, the league body described the proposed law as a “historic milestone for Spanish football”.
“With the estimated income forecasts, the payroll of Segunda Division teams is expected to double compared to current figures. Additionally, with this agreement, over 300 Primera Division female players as well as more than 2,000 Segunda Division B players, will be entitled to social security,” LFP said.
The statement read further: “This measure will equally benefit all top level sports, with athletes receiving one per cent that will guarantee their social security payments, which is a necessary initiative to protect the Spanish Brand for our elite sportsmen and women.”