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Volume 6 No. 212
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13 La Liga Teams Threaten To Delay Start Of The Season Over TV Dispute

A total of 13 La Liga clubs held a meeting Wednesday in Madrid and are demanding that broadcaster Mediapro "withdraw legal action against two clubs, pay what they owe several clubs and reach an agreement with Canal+," according to the EFE. The clubs met to "discuss an action plan after many club directors expressed their outrage" at the decision by the league to schedule 11pm kick-offs in the first two weekends of the season. The teams that attended the meeting were: Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid, Real Betis, Celta Vigo, Espanyol, Getafe, Granada, Real Mallorca, Osasuna, Rayo Vallecano, Real Sociedad, Sevilla and Real Zaragoza. Following the meeting, the clubs each released a statement asking National Professional Football League President Joe Luis Astiazaran to call an urgent board meeting on Tuesday for Primera Division clubs. In the statement, the clubs made the following four demands:

  • Demand immediate payment of all money owed by TV operators to First Division clubs.
  • Demand the withdrawal of all legal action against Primera División clubs in relation to contracts of sale of media rights.
  • Create a transparent and regulated procedure to organize kick-off times and dates for La Liga matches.
  • Require TV operators to establish a stable framework to ensure the fair distribution of broadcasting rights for all clubs in the Primera Division.
The statement ended with the 13 clubs saying they were prepared to take whatever measures are necessary, including delaying the start of the '12-13 season (EFE,8/7). REUTERS' Iain Rogers noted that the rights dispute "escalated last month" when Canal+ said Mediapro's announcement of an auction for La Liga TV rights was "illegal" as it included clubs that it says have signed exclusive deals with Canal+. The broadcaster cites a Spanish court ruling that "limited rights contracts to three years and which it said nullified some of Mediapro's deals." With the regular season set to start in less than two weeks, "a solution appears remote." Most of the 13 clubs are also upset over the way Barcelona and Real Madrid "dominate revenue from audiovisual rights due to the lack of a system of collective bargaining and income sharing like those used in rival European leagues." Last week, Atletico Madrid CEO Miguel Angel Gil warned that the future of La Liga was "under threat unless Real and Barca agreed to change" (REUTERS, 8/7).