Spanish football clubs threaten strike action over TV deal
Madrid, Feb 7 (IANS) La Liga football clubs have threatened to go on a strike unless the Spanish government approves a law to regularise the central sale of television rights of the league matches.
The clubs shot off a letter both to the government and the Higher Committee of Sport Friday highlighting the "enormous urgency which is needed for the government to dictate the norms, including both a method for commercialisation, as well as a system for the distribution of income," reports Xinhua.
The clubs have given the government two weeks to act, otherwise they will go on a strike against a system which currently sees each team negotiate their television rights on an individual basis.
The current system sees Real Madrid and FC Barcelona earn around 50 percent of all of the money given to clubs in their TV deals, with the 'Big Two' earning as much as seven or eight times more than lower rung clubs such as Rayo Vallecano, Eibar and Levante and around three and a half times more than mid-table sides such as Valencia and Atletico Madrid.
"The individual sale of rights impedes the commercialisation of the sport outside of Spain in a way the market requires," it was written in the letter.
With the current TV contracts due to expire at the end of the ongoing season and many clubs surviving on shoestring budgets, there is a need for the deal for the next three seasons to be completed before the end of the current campaign.
By showing their willingness to allow "regularisation from outside," the La Liga authorities hope to show their desire to regulate the situation as soon as possible.
But unless the government acts soon, Spanish football faces the possibility of a strike which would paralyse the season.