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El Centrocampista

FINANCIAL FAIR PLAY IS A FOREIGN CONCEPT IN SPANISH FOOTBALL

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Valencia who finished third in La Liga last season, received less money from television revenue than West Ham United who finished bottom of the English Premier League.

Manchester United who finished top in the Premier League received 1.5 times the amount of money West Ham who finished bottom earned. Barcelona who finished top of La Liga received 12 times what Almeria who finished bottom received.

Startling facts indeed, and ones recently published by football business website, The Swiss Ramble.

It doesn’t take an expert to realise there is something seriously wrong there. Furthermore, it doesn’t take statistics to realise there is a growing problem in La Liga.

The Primera Division remains one of the only leagues in Europe that doesn’t employ the ‘collective sale’ model distributing TV income on an even scale, allocating up to 50% of revenue evenly to each club, with the other half split up into different amounts for other qualifiers such as league position, television appearances, and city population.

Italy stood along with Spain for before accepting the measures last year which strengthened the smaller clubs with up to 10 million euros more a season, and taking a similar amount from those at the top.

The enforcement worked wonders for Serie A as a product and the league is now witnessing one of its most entertaining and competitive seasons in recent times with anyone from Juventus in first place down to Napoli in sixth standing a reasonable shot at the Scudetto.

The same cannot be said for La Liga, the quality of football from the top two in particular is certainly entertaining, but competitive it is not.

It took until the start of this season for someone prominent to speak up but for those in support it was the man that no one wanted to see spearheading the movement.

Sevilla president Jose Maria Del Nido began talking to the press giving comical sound bites and quotes to anyone that would listen which drew more attention to the man himself rather than the problem in hand.

Del Nido’s attempts were poorly executed and he was roundly ridiculed in the Spanish press despite meeting with presidents of 12 other clubs to discuss the issues and ultimately bring them into the public eye.

His intentions, however poorly communicated were correct, but as the league season began, Real Madrid and Barcelona were both struggling which left Levante and Real Betis to battle it out at the top of the table, this allowed the issues to conveniently disappear from the sporting agenda.

Sadly, no one kept the pressure on, journalists joked that if La Liga is a two team league then the two must be Levante and Betis. Every time one of the big two dropped points it was cited as evidence that Spanish football was competitive after all.

Madrid inevitably rose back to the top followed closely by Barcelona, who are now seven points in front of the rest and will gradually pull away even further.

Whatever their motive, those significant, whether it be pundits, journalists or ex-players took the option to defend the current system rather than criticize it, ignorant of the facts and willingly ignoring the real problems, the opportunity to help pressurise those at the top was missed and with Sevilla’s president Del Nido recently sentenced to a lengthy prison spell for embezzlement it looks like no one is left to stand up for the rest.

Valencia’s 3-0 embarrassment against Chelsea and Villarreal’s nil point destruction in the Champion’s League group stages couldn’t re start the debate and even the massive wake up calls of Real Zaragoza and Racing Santander’s plummet into the abyss of administration weren’t enough to make anyone care.

As long as there’s another Clasico on the horizon the rest of the league will be left to suffer.




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