El Centrocampista

A FIGHT FOR EQUALITY – The meeting that could change the face of La Liga

By Richard Thorburn

While there may have been no La Liga fixtures this week, on Thursday a meeting takes place that could change the face of the Spanish game for years to come.

It could break the total dominance enjoyed by the country’s ‘big two’ Real Madrid and Barcelona, who have battled it out alone for the title for as long as anyone cares to remember.

The fact that the crown has only left the grasp of these two on a paltry five occasions during the last 30 years tells it’s own story.

Real’s 6-0 win over Real Zaragoza and Barcelona’s 5-0 dismantling of Villarreal, suggest that little is going to change this season.

With this unparalleled success naturally comes financial gain, but it is the distribution of television money that has caused controversy over recent years.

Barcelona and Real Madrid dominate La Liga

At present Real and Barça collect about 50 percent of the annual pot of around 600 million euros.

The other 18 teams in the league merely scrapping over left over crumbs.

It is with little surprise then that Valencia in 2004 was the last team to provide La Liga with a different winner, and while La Liga may provide flair and excitement, even the biggest fan will admit to a lack of competitiveness.

The ‘have’s’ get given more, while the ‘have not’s have exactly that.

All that is about to change though, that is if Seville president Jose Maria del Nido has his own way.

In what has been compared to the ‘French revolution’ by ex lawyer Del Nido 15 of the 17 other clubs in the top flight had confirmed they would attend Thursday’s meeting to discuss the issue of making the television payments fairer.

Del Nido said: “There is no going back here, as directors we cannot allow a situation where, because two clubs are very powerful, they bring about the demise of the Spanish league.

“We are going to open a debate to try to solve a problem on which we are all agreed,” he added, “The television broadcasters will do what the league says.

“If the clubs decide to market their audiovisual rights collectively, it will be done by the body that we decide and that decision will be a majority one.”

In attempt to appease the other clubs, last year Real Madrid and Barcelona agreed that from 2015 they would introduce some sort of revenue sharing system.

Not everyone however was convinced, and only 11 clubs signed up to the deal.

It is a scepticism that is shared by many who argue that the clubs shouldn’t be dictating to others.

The peace offering almost rejected as insulting.

With most television deals not expiring until 2014, it is not for a couple of years that any changes will come into effect.

Thursday’s meeting however should prove interesting to say the least.

While it would be foolish to suggest that even if Barcelona and Real Madrid did lose some television revenue that they would not be the
dominant forces that they currently are, a level playing field would certainly improve the competitiveness of the league.

How great would it be if instead of two teams competing for the top prize, there were four or five?

We can only hope.

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